It happens so often after a birthday or a holiday when you receive a few gifts. You open the gift and keep the box — at least most of us do. But we don’t quite want to get rid of the box because there is a chance we may actually return the product to the store. We sort of toss the box around the garage for a few months. Sometimes we pick it up to throw it out and then . . . no, we just can’t let go.

This is how boxes turn into clutter; and our closets, attics, and basements become full of unused items.

Our spiritual lives can have a lot of clutter, too. It can often be in the form of a nagging, little habit — an activity or quirk that we know keeps us from being more effective for God — we just can’t let it go, can we? Or maybe there is an area of our soul that we haven’t quite surrendered. So we go on living cluttered, incomplete, sometimes-frustrated lives.

It’s not often the big things — it’s the little, nagging things. Then the time comes where a life circumstance forces us to pick up that useless box and throw it out, once and for all. It’s God’s way of making room for more of Him in our lives.

Make this your prayer today: “God, help me identify and remove the clutter that robs me of a more fruitful relationship with You.”

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder