Gathering a basket of things to discard before entering the new year—a collection of grudges, wrong thoughts, simmering anger, critical spirit, lingering fear, oppressive worry, crushing memories.

Why would I want to keep these bad actors? They do not bring me joy. Truth: they spoil the best of days and stain my tomorrows. They stuff me in a barrel of discouragement and sit on the lid.

Until now, I’ve chosen to let them control me. But not anymore. I’m heading to the dump! It’s an expansive piece of ground, and a cross stands in the center, surrounded by the garbage of generations.

It’s so freeing to be rid of this negative clutter. Joy is spewing all over the place! If you’re interested in cleaning closets, Colossians 3 will help you identify what to discard and keep.

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God…

“Put to death…whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed…You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator…

“As God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

“And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts…And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

Consider this from Ephesians 4:22-5:4.

“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness…put off falsehood and speak truthfully…

“Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold…

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen…

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other,just as in Christ God forgave you.

“Be imitators of God…live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God…there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.”

Peter addressed this cleansed life: “make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if any does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins” (2 Peter 1:5-9).

Summing it up. “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter4:8).

If you struggle to apply this, just follow Apostle Paul’s simple how-to: “…clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature” (Romans 13:14).

Are you ready to tackle those closets?

© Dianne Barker 2018

(Scripture references from NIV.)

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