Last Friday morning, I had a chance to talk to a room full of men about a topic that’s been all over my heart and my life. Clutter. We talked about why it’s so sneaky, so dangerous, and what’s at the core of it. I guess I was surprised how many detail oriented, organized guys also struggle with keeping a clean, undivided heart.

     By the feedback I got, it turns out just about every table of men agreed that when life, schedule, work, and commitments get cluttered up, the one thing that suffers most is family. Yet, even there, a few of the wisest put their fingers on the fact that when they’re clean with God, have an undivided heart with Him, and stay deep in the word, the clutter seems to fall away. From that base line, organization goes from a “just try harder” behavior modification tactic to a natural outpouring of God’s work in their lives.

     It’s easy to walk away from a teaching/preaching/leading opportunity like that and spot the things you could have done better in your rear view. But, the Lord has assured me that the perfect “preach” doesn’t exist this side of heaven – when we abide in Him, He’ll handle what needs to be said, not said, and most importantly, what gets heard. That saved me from a lot of “I wish I’d have remembered to say x.”

     Then, I got this email, from Dan Diaddigo. We’ve featured him here before. One of my favorite local writers. And, it sounds like “clean” has been on his mind, too. I’ve said what I need to say for a time and I’m sure we’ll come back to it again. For now, here’s a sympathetic thread that’s been on Dan’s mind, too…


Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul.
2 Peter 2:11
If “sterile” has a smell it originates on the 8th Floor Lobby of the Northside Cancer Center and then wafts to the 12th floor where it gathers and lingers. The 8th floor is where you have to exchange elevators. The 12th Floor is where I go every six months for my CT scan. Here, they look inside me for signs my body is turning on itself and plotting its own demise.

If “sterile” has a taste it is found in the plastic contrast bottles I drink before they put me in the machine. I prefer the “chocolate”, if it can be called that.

The machine sounds more clean than sterile. It whirs and hums as it travels up and down my mid-section, occasionally pausing to the instructions of a mechanical voice. Never mind that it’s pumping me with radiation.

This is what you do if you want to stay healthy. You go where it’s clean and you look inside, and you take come risks.

The same is true of our souls.

Too often, we avoid the scans. We miss appointments with God’s Word and opportunities to obey the Spirit’s prompts. I know I do. I suspect you do as well.

And I wonder why.

Sin is a cancer more deadly than the chromophillic renal cell carcinoma that claimed a couple of my organs. Sin pollutes the decisions of our leaders and it poisons our relationships with others and with ourselves.

Most of all, sin corrodes our faith. It gets between us and God and it makes us forget that He is good and that His love endures forever.

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that this world is not our home, that we are forgiven and “clean” before God because Jesus took our cancer into Himself.

We need to remember that sin is deadly and sin is dealt with. Let us also remember who we are. We are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that [we] may declare the praises of him who called [us] out of darkness into his wonderful light. (1 Peter 2:9).

Behind me to my right an elderly man listens intently as his daughter speaks loudly into his ear. He’s a black man in a grey warm up suit. I’d place him in his eighties. His speech is slurred and he’s waiting, as I am, to meet the machine.

I notice this then I busy myself on something else. Several minutes later I hear a loud voice bellowing from the hall. It belongs to the man. His daughter is trying to move him past the nurse’s station, but the man has something to say. I can make out three words clearly.

“God is good” he says.

My spirit yields. My soul remembers. I am clean.