Our newly remodeled four-bedroom rental unit had to be stripped to bare studs. The apartment could have appeared on the tv show hoarders. As landlords, my husband and I became leery when the tenants complained that the heat wasn’t working. We inspected the unit. The air wasn’t circulating because they had stacked things on top of the vents, and we asked them to remove some items, but they wouldn’t. A year later, the tenant below complained water was leaking into their ceiling. We sent a company to fix the issue. The plumber refused to work inside the unit, instead, they broke through the house’s exterior wall to repair the pipe. The board of health started to call, but what could we do? Legally, I couldn’t barge in and throw out items that belonged to them, our only option was to proceed with an eviction.

The tenants never even appeared in court, just up and left, abandoning the items that got them evicted in the first place. It took four overflowing 40-yard dumpsters and men decked in hazmat suits to empty the apartment down to the studs. Even the drywall had become ruined.

Some things we grip so tightly they end up gripping us.

Sometimes it’s old ideas or opinions. When my husband and I started attending church, we got involved on Sunday mornings and joined small groups that met on weeknights, but we held back our Friday evenings. Fridays, we kept for our old friends and old way of life. We’d given God six days, but He couldn’t have our Fridays. The funny thing was, we didn’t love our old ways. We merely clung to them, like a child hangs onto a worn and tattered blanket. God, however, tested us (check out last week’s blog on tests). Two months later, our closest friends in the church invited us to a small group—you guessed it—on Friday nights.  

God asks for complete surrender because He knows the things of this world can choke the life out of us. What may at first appear pleasurable or intriguing can quickly become a noose around our neck. When we fully surrender to God, the things of this world lose their power. We’re no longer the hoarder suffocated by our things, buried alive by junk we idolize.

Woman arms spread

The decision to attend that Friday night small group freed my husband and me. Our old ways lost their grip, and we breathed in new life.

Put away the old person you used to be. Have nothing to do with your old sinful life. It was sinful because of being fooled into following bad desires. Let your minds and hearts be made new. You must become a new person and be God-like. Then you will be made right with God and have a true holy life. – Ephesians 4:22-24

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