MY wife and I have just completed a major housecleaning, and in the process we've cleared away all the clutter. The house feels better. We feel better. Generally speaking, we're tidy people, and keep our house tidy. But as we stood back mentally and had a fresh look at our home - considering honestly the value of each item - we were surprised at how many unneeded things we've been retaining.
It's not helpful to be cluttered - mentally or physically. Unnecessary things and unnecessary thoughts are encumbrances, holding us back.
In the old sailing-ship days, barnacles were a bother. They attached themselves to ships' hulls, and if a ship was at sea for a long time, the barnacles would grow to the point where the ship could hardly move at all. The barnacles then had to be cleaned off to let the ship progress.
In similar manner, materiality tends to impede the progress of mankind. Christ Jesus drew our attention to such hindrances when he said, ''Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt . . . : but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.'' n1 The master Christian liberated people from retarding conditions and from the materialistic thinking that generates such conditions. He taught and showed that spirituality is man's true, unfettered state; materialism - sensuality, dishonesty, envy, and so forth - is an encumbrance.
n1 Matthews 6:19, 20.
On one occasion a man came to him, asking how he could inherit eternal life. The Master quoted the Biblical requirements for right living. When the man asserted that he had observed them all since his youth, Jesus told him that he lacked one thing - the need to relinquish his reliance on material wealth. The man went away sorrowful, because ''he had great possessions.''
Jesus stressed to his disciples how difficult it is for those ''that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!'' n2
n2 Mark 10:17-24.
The Saviour invariably turned people's attention away from the contemplation of material things to consideration of thoughts and to the unqualified worship of the one infinite God. Through his teachings and healing works he indicated the relationship of health to our state of thinking. Pure, loving, spiritualized thinking, he showed, is the promoter of harmony.
But how can we cleanse ourselves of mental rubbish? How can we clear away preoccupation with material things and worldly goals? How can we dispose of envy and impurity, or the burden of sad memories? How can we do away with feelings of unjust treatment - the assorted fears, resentments, and prejudices that often fill our minds?
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: ''We cannot fill vessels already full. They must first be emptied.'' Further along she tells us, ''The way to extract error from mortal mind is to pour in truth through flood-tides of Love.'' n3
n3 Science and Health, p. 201.
The truth of being, transcending appearances, is that there is one God, one creator, and that man is God's likeness, reflecting the perfect spiritual nature of God. Man's thoughts are exclusively good because they come from God, from the one supreme Mind, in which there are no elements of evil. God's man is uncluttered, and this is our true nature.
By pouring in truth ''through flood-tides of Love'' we can clear away the clutter of earthly thoughts, which tend to bind us to sin and sickness, and let the freedom of our true identity come to light. DAILY BIBLE VERSE O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising thou understandest my thought afar off I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well . . . . Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
Psalms 139:1, 2, 14, 23, 24