When I was young, I needed to be convinced of the benefits of following Christ. With so many friends pursuing pleasure in other ways, I had to be reminded often that God’s way was best.
But these days, I find myself needing to be convinced less and less. I have come to understand and experience all that a life centered on Jesus offers: hope, peace, joy, and love.
I recognize now that a life lived for Christ offers the very things my friends were seeking all along—they were just looking in the wrong places. A life lived for God provides greater fulfillment, purpose, and meaning that could ever be found anywhere else.
I no longer need to be convinced that God’s way is best. I know it is—and I have experienced the benefits over and over again.
But now that I desire to live a life pleasing to God, I am beginning to realize how difficult it is in a world that rejects Him. I don’t need convincing to follow Christ, I need wisdom and strength to do it well.
I long to “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles so I can run with perseverance the race marked for me.”
Over the past few years, I have been on a journey to do exactly that. And I have discovered something surprising that entangles each of us far more than we realize.
And that is: the physical possessions we own.
Consider how they entangle us.
Everything we own takes up physical space in our home and takes up mental space in our mind. Most of us don't even realize how much stuff we own (the average American home contains 300,000 things) nor do we realize how much of our attention and focus is being held captive by the stuff we own.
Every possession adds increased burden onto our lives: one more thing to clean and organize and manage; one more item to store and repair and replace; one more loss of freedom.
Every single item adds stress and anxiety—one more thing to think about, worry about, and make decisions about. Possessions steal our time, our money, our attention, and our energy— the very things most of us wish we had more of.
Even worse, this mindless consumption steals our joy and passion. The joy found in physical possessions is short-lived and they do not bring fulfillment. Even worse, they distract us from the very things that do!
There is a reason Jesus and his followers spent so much time talking about physical possessions:
“Sell your possessions, give to the poor, and come follow me,” Jesus told the Rich Young Ruler.
"Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same,” was the response of John the Baptist to the nation of Israel as they asked him how to prepare for the coming Messiah.
Even “Woe to you who are rich,” and “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God,” were challenges that Jesus gave to those who live with material excess.
Jesus offered a life focused on the things we value most: faith, family, relationships, impact.
But in a world that constantly promotes the pursuit of more and better material possessions, we have too easily become entangled. We own more than we need—and this mounting excess is keeping us from the life we most desire.
We would be wise to discard it.
If you would like prayer and encouragement about this we would love to pray with you.