by Gloria Copeland
The Christmas season is filled with wonder and anticipation. As excitement fills the air, it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of wrapping gifts, preparing for guests, and baking goodies for the whole neighborhood.
If you’re preparing to host a party or receive overnight guests, you may also be thinking about where to hide the overflow of wrapping paper, decorating supplies and clutter that may have accumulated in your house.
I have a special room like that in my house. It’s a room most company never gets to see. In the beginning, it had some pieces of exercise equipment in it. And I used them, too—to stack boxes on and prop things up!
Eventually, that room became my official place to put “stuff.” Boxes and boxes of stuff, including Christmas decorations and anything else I needed to hide when guests were coming to stay with us.
Perhaps you have a room or closet like that in your home. A place where things accumulate. A cluttered place.
Did you know your heart can be such a place? It can. And when a child of God’s heart becomes cluttered, it stops being good soil for the Word.
Let me show you what I mean.
The Overcrowded Heart
Jesus uses four types of soil as a picture of the four categories of hearts that are exposed to the Word of God (Mark 4:1-20). The first two categories—the pavement-like heart and the stony-ground heart, never even come close to bearing any fruit. Contrast these people to those in Jesus’ fourth category—the good-soil believers who bear fruit—30, 60 and a hundredfold. These are the ones who see God’s kingdom manifested in their lives. They see His heavenly provision of healing, abundance, miracles and power manifested right here on earth.
But what about that third category of believers? It’s here I believe we find the majority of Christians today. In this group are those who allow “thorns” to choke the Word. Jesus elaborates on this type of heart for His disciples:
And the ones sown among the thorns are others who hear the Word; then the cares and anxieties of the world and distractions of the age, and the pleasure and delight and false glamour and deceitfulness of riches, and the craving and passionate desire for other things creep in and choke and suffocate the Word, and it becomes fruitless (Mark 4:18-19, AMPC).
As I’ve said, the sad truth is most Christians live here in Category 3. They’re saved. Yet they live “fruitless” lives. Why?
According to Jesus, it’s because, like that room in my house, their hearts have become too cluttered.
We see this truth paralleled in the story of Jesus’ birth. Luke 2:7, KJV, tells us that, after Mary had given birth to Jesus, she “wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”
It is important to note the word translated as “inn” is also translated as “house” or “guest room.” Rather than the traditional idea that an inn was without vacancy, it is more likely that Joseph and Mary, who was pregnant and unwed, were actually rejected and turned away from the guest room of a family home.
Forced to stay in a place where animals lived was a foreshadowing of things to come—a world that would reject and shame Christ. A world of people with no room in their hearts to receive Him.
Do you want to have the best Christmas ever? Make room in the “inn” of your heart for Jesus, especially this time of year. You may have received Him as Lord and Savior, but how much of your heart is He allowed to occupy?
The Clutter of Care
Christmastime is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year. The most blessed of celebrations. After all, we are celebrating Jesus!
So, how is it that we end up driving in traffic, rushing in and out of stores, frantically baking cookies, and trying not to look frazzled in family portraits? That sounds like a crowded schedule! And it may be crowding your heart with cares, as well.
The first thing Jesus cited in His description of the Category 3 heart was “the cares and anxieties of this world.” And with good reason. You can’t be worried and walk in faith. You’ve got to drive worry out of your life if you want your faith to produce a hundredfold harvest.
You wouldn’t know it now, but I used to be a world-class worrier. In fact, I came from a long line of worriers. In my family, they thought worrying was a virtue. You were irresponsible if you didn’t!
When I discovered that worry wasn’t of God, I knew I needed to make a decision to walk in faith rather than fear. I learned to cast my cares upon the Lord, even when I had much to do (1 Peter 5:7).
Of course, it wasn’t easy at first. When an anxious thought would pop into my mind, I would take it captive. I would say, “No, I refuse to take the care of that. Jesus, in accordance with Your Word, I roll the care of that over on You because I know You care for me.”
Clearing Out the Clutter This Christmas
At Christmastime, we can become so busy and worried with baking, shopping, decorating and planning that we can end up crowding out our relationship with the Lord because there is “no room in the inn.” But you don’t have to clutter your heart with worry. You don’t have to let the thorns of anxiety and fear choke the Word out of your life this Christmas season.
Your best Christmas ever starts with a heart that is good soil for the Word—an uncluttered heart. All clutter of the heart ultimately springs from putting things before God and His Word. As you embrace the joy and excitement of this Christmas season, remember to guard your heart from cares and worries, and make time for the One we are celebrating.
Dare to Shine His Light on Your Heart!
- Is your heart overcrowded and cluttered? Identify those things you are putting before God and His Word. Repent, and ask God for forgiveness according to 1 John 1:9. Then, commit to giving God and His Word first place.
- Spend time daily with God, praising Him, praying and studying the Bible.
- Listen to Bible teaching while you wrap gifts, bake cookies, clean house, etc. Tune in to VICTORY™ network (formerly BVOVN) for 24/7 faith programming from the world’s most-trusted ministers.
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