Purging is the act of removing or eliminating unwanted things from your life. This could include physical possessions, unhealthy relationships, sinful behaviors, toxic emotions, and more. As Christians, purging our lives according to biblical principles is an important spiritual discipline that leads to freedom and abundant life in Christ.
In this comprehensive blog post, we will explore what the Bible teaches about purging. We will look at why God calls us to purge, what areas of life we should purge, biblical examples of purging, how to go about the purging process, and the blessings that come through obedience in purging.
You have likely felt the burden of excess in your life. Your closet is bursting with clothes you don’t wear. Your pantry is stuffed with food that goes to waste. Your social media feeds are filled with voices that don’t edify your walk with God. Your time is swallowed up by meaningless distractions that leave you empty.
There is freedom in releasing the excess and eliminating the unnecessary – freedom to hear God’s voice more clearly, freedom to invest in what matters most, freedom to live simply and generously. This is the gift of purging.
God is calling you to purge your life. Not only of physical clutter, but of mental clutter, emotional clutter, spiritual clutter – anything that entangles you, weighs you down, or distracts you from pursuing intimacy with Jesus. As Hebrews 12:1 (NKJV) exhorts:
“Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”
Purging requires courage and discipline, but God promises it will lead to blessing, breakthrough, and renewal.
Throughout Scripture, we see God instructing His people to purge and refine their lives – to shed what is lifeless or evil in order to experience rejuvenation and restoration. As gold is purified by fire, purging brings our lives into greater alignment with God’s loving purposes for us.
In this blog post, you will learn biblical principles about purging that will help you discern what needs to go and how to go about eliminating it. You will be equipped to purge your life in a methodical, sustainable way – not merely for the sake of decluttering, but for the sake of spiritual growth and renewal.
The ultimate goal is not just a tidier home or schedule. The goal is a tidier heart – one increasingly freed up to receive God’s love and give it to others; eyes increasingly freed up to see God’s hand at work; hands and feet increasingly freed up to participate in His restorative mission in the world.
Before exploring practical how-to’s, let’s first ground ourselves in why God calls us to purge and what areas of life we should apply this spiritual discipline to.
Why Does God Call Us to Purge?
God calls us to purge our lives for several important reasons:
- To make space for greater intimacy with Him. When we clear away distractions and busyness, we open room in our lives to go deeper with God (James 4:8).
- To live in greater alignment with His will. Purging helps us turn from sinful attachments and be obedient to the Lord’s commands for holy living (2 Timothy 2:21).
- To gain proper perspective. Eliminating life’s excess clutter enables us to see reality and truth more clearly (Hebrews 12:1).
- To invest in what matters most. We have limited time and resources in this life. Purging frees us up to devote ourselves to our highest priorities and passions.
- To experience freedom and restoration. Just as purging pathogens from the body leads to renewed health, purging sin and excess from our lives brings cleansing and refreshment.
- To bless others in need. As we free up excess resources, we can share more generously with those who lack basic necessities (Luke 3:11).
Above all, God calls us to purge because He loves us. He knows the burdens and bondage that come when our lives are weighed down and entangled by things that do not align with His kingdom. The Lord longs to bring order, peace and wholeness to our lives – so that we can flourish in our relationship with Him and our purpose in this world. As Hebrews 12:10 (NKJV) says, “He disciplines us for our good, that we may share His holiness.”
What Areas of Life Should We Purge?
Now that we understand why God calls us to purge, what areas of life should we apply this spiritual discipline to?
Here are key realms to prayerfully consider purging:
- Clothes: Clear out items you haven’t worn in the past year. Donate gently used items to charity.
- Household goods: Eliminate appliances, furniture and decor you don’t use.
- Pantry items: Remove expired food and donate unopened extras to a food bank.
- Knickknacks and collections: Keep only your most cherished items that bring you joy.
- Paperwork and files: Shred documents you no longer need. Organize and digitize important records.
- Social media feeds: Unfollow accounts that encourage envy, lust or discontentment. Limit endless scrolling.
- Email inbox: Unsubscribe from newsletters you don’t read. Delete spam messages and outdated correspondence.
- Photos and videos: Back up meaningful content to external storage. Remove blurry images and duplicate files.
- Apps and music: Delete apps you don’t use. Clear out songs you don’t enjoy.
- Bookmarks and browsing history: Save valuable sites to an organized bookmark file. Clear cookies and temporary files.
Schedule and Activities
- Commitments: Step back from extracurriculars and obligations that exhaust you. Say no to new requests.
- Media consumption: Cut back on mindless TV, web surfing and gaming. Limit to specific times.
- Sleep habits: Stick to a consistent bedtime routine. Avoid screens before bed.
- Exercise: Eliminate excuses and make regular workouts a priority.
- Hobbies: Focus your limited free time on one or two favorite activities.
- Toxic connections: Set healthy boundaries or remove people who drag you down spiritually.
- Draining friendships: Politely decline one-sided relationships. Surround yourself with positive community.
- Family grudges: Forgive past hurts. Approach strained relationships with grace.
- Marriage: Restore intimacy through honest communication, deeper spiritual connection and dedicating couple time.
- Parenting: Minimize excessive busyness and activity. Invest in meaningful time with children.
- Anxieties: Release worries and concerns to God in prayer (Philippians 4:6-7).
- Covetous desires: Be content with what you have. Trust God as your provider (Hebrews 13:5).
- Self-criticism: Silence your inner critic. Accept yourself in God’s love (Romans 14:22).
- Judgment: Give others the benefit of the doubt. Humbly examine your own heart.
- Sinful strongholds: Avoid compromise and temptation. Pursue purity with spiritual disciplines like Scripture reading, prayer, fasting, accountability and worship.
This list provides a framework to prayerfully examine your life and discern areas where God may be calling you to purge unnecessary excess and entanglement.
Not everything on the list will apply to your situation. Seek the Holy Spirit’s wisdom about priorities for your unique season of life. Remember, the goal is not just a minimalist lifestyle for its own sake – it’s freedom to thrive in intimacy with God and service to His kingdom.
Biblical Examples of Purging
To understand the purging process more fully, it helps to look at biblical examples of God’s people purging their lives:
Hezekiah Purges the Temple (2 Chronicles 29)
King Hezekiah purged years of pagan idols, uncleanness and neglect from the temple in Jerusalem, consecrating it anew to the worship of Yahweh. This physical purging reflected a spiritual return to the Lord from idolatry.
Jesus Cleanses the Temple (John 2:13-22)
Jesus drove out merchants and money changers from the temple courts that were being used for profit and dishonest gain rather than true worship. This purging prepared a holy space to draw people close to God.
Barnabas Sells His Field (Acts 4:32-37)
The Ephesians Burn Their Occult Scrolls (Acts 19:17-20)
New believers in Ephesus burnt books of magic arts worth 50,000 silver coins, purging their lives of sinful sorcery to follow Christ wholeheartedly.
Paul Leaves the Past Behind (Philippians 3:8-9)
Paul considered all his impressive credentials as loss in order to gain Christ. He let go of his old religious identity and strived to know Jesus above all else.
In each example, purging was an act of consecration – removing what was unclean or excessive in order to realign their lives to the worship and will of God. This brought freedom and blessing.
This same process of consecration and realignment continues in our lives today. As we prayerfully purge, we are cleansed from sin and excess that entangles us. This frees us up to walk in intimacy with the Lord and fulfill our calling.
How Do We Go About the Purging Process?
With this biblical foundation, here are some practical tips for making steady progress as you purge different areas of your life:
Prepare Your Heart
Begin with self-reflection and prayer:
- Examine your motives. Why do you want to purge? Guard against pride or seeking perfectionism for its own sake.
- Evaluate priorities. Ask God to reveal the top priorities He wants to free you for right now.
- Discard discomfort. Be willing to release excess and comforts you’ve clung to unhealthily.
- Invite the Holy Spirit. Ask God to guide, strengthen and comfort you through any conviction or struggle.
Set Reasonable Goals
Don’t become overwhelmed trying to overhaul everything at once:
- Focus your efforts. Prioritize 2-3 manageable areas of life to purge first.
- Establish deadlines. Break large projects into smaller steps with end dates to keep making steady progress.
- Start small. Sort one drawer or declutter one shelf at a time instead of an entire room.
- Designate short time blocks. Commit 15-30 minutes per day to whittle away at the task.
- Build in breaks. Take time outs when you start feeling drained or discouraged.
Make it Sustainable
Rather than a one-time purge, build lifelong habits that maintain order and simplicity:
- Establish routines. Just like you regularly wash dishes or change bed sheets, schedule time to tidy, organize, and purge areas that easily accumulate again.
- One in, one out. When you acquire something new, donate or get rid of something comparable.
- Follow filing systems. Maintain well-organized files, closets, drawers, etc. so you stay on top of inflow.
- Limit new purchases. Curb excessive shopping. Carefully evaluate needs vs. wants.
- Regular digital cleanups. Back up and delete files every few months. Archive old emails and social media posts.
Here are key steps once you’ve identified an area of life to purge:
- Sort through items. Go through everything and make decisions – trash, donate, sell, keep.
- Deep clean the space. Wipe down, vacuum, dust, wash – make it fresh and welcoming.
- Organize what remains. Designate places for items to live neatly and logically.
- Maintain regularly. Don’t just purge once, but make tidiness a habit here.
- Fill wisely. Be intentional about only bringing items into the space that belong and will be cared for.
Deal Gently with Emotional Attachments
Letting go of excess stuff often stirs up strong emotions:
- Process feelings as they arise. Pause to identify why you feel anxious, sad or frustrated.
- Release control. Allow God to have authority over what stays and what goes.
- Do not rush. If emotionally attached to an item, wait for the Lord’s timing before making a decision.
- Honor history. Take pictures of meaningful items you release to retain the memory before passing them on.
- Focus on the goal ahead. Remember you are freeing up space for God’s new blessings!
With the Lord’s help, remain patient but persistent through this emotional aspect of purging. Stay fixed on the joy set before you!
Lean on Community
Ask trusted friends and family to assist at various points:
- Invite help. Host a declutter party with others to sort through piles or haul away donations.
- Get an outside perspective. Have someone speak truth over areas of excess you are blind to.
- Share your goals. Make yourself accountable to a friend or mentor regarding your purging goals.
- Don’t go it alone. If emotionally overwhelmed, seek counseling to work through obstacles.
Community provides critical support and encouragement to persevere through the purging process.
What Blessings Come Through Obedience to Purge?
Purging requires sacrifice and perseverance, but God promises it will lead to abundant blessings in our walk with Him.
Here are just some of the fruits of freeing our lives from excess through purging:
- Deeper intimacy with God – Increased time and space to pray, study Scripture, worship, and listen to His voice.
- Stronger faith – As we release our grip on lesser things, we learn to trust God more fully as Provider and Shepherd.
- Renewed passion for Jesus – Our “first love” is rekindled when other idols and distractions lose their grip on our hearts.
- Lasting joy and contentment – Freed from endless accumulation and dissatisfaction; satisfied in simplicity and stewardship.
- Wiser investments – Time, talents, and money reallocated to bear eternal returns for God’s kingdom.
- More resources to be generous – With excess sold or donated, we can generously meet pressing needs around us.
- Closer family ties – Less busyness and clutter enables deeper connections and quality time together.
- Healthier lifestyle – Removing unhealthy attachments or habits allows room for more life-giving routines.
- Increased productivity – Eliminating time-wasters and organizing spaces leads to more effectiveness.
- New growth – Just as pruning stimulates new fruit in plants, purging allows space for maturing in new areas of our spiritual walk.
What an encouragment that obeying God’s command to purge comes with these blessings! As Hebrews 12:11 assures, “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”
We can trust God’s pruning and purging work is for our good.
Key Takeaways on Purging
Here are the key biblical takeaways on purging covered in this comprehensive guide:
- God calls us to purge our lives to remove excess and realign with Him. This frees us up for greater intimacy and purpose.
- We should prayerfully purge possessions, technology, schedules, relationships, thoughts, and areas of sinful bondage.
- Biblical examples like Hezekiah and Jesus show how purging helps consecrate our lives back to God.
- Begin purging with prayer and reasonable goals. Take it step-by-step, involving community. Be patient in the process.
- Purging requires sacrifice but leads to blessings like deeper faith, simpler lifestyle, and more generous living.
- This is a lifelong process. Establish routines to maintain order and prevent buildup of excess after initial purges.
- Most of all, remember purging is a sacred act of consecration to remove distractions from our lives. It clears space to draw close to Jesus!
What an adventure awaits as you respond to God’s invitation to purge your life! With some practical steps and sustained commitment, you can systematically tackle areas of excess and entanglements that have built up over the years.
This will make space to rediscover simple joys and the presence of Jesus you may have lost touch with along the way. As you release the unnecessary, you’ll be filled afresh with eternal riches of God’s peace, purpose and freedom.
Of course, the process will look different for everyone. Seek the Holy Spirit each step of the way for wisdom and strength tailored to your unique story.
May the Lord guide your hands as you steward your resources well, prune away sinful attachments, and tidy your life’s spaces for greater flourishing. Decluttering is more than just cleaning – it’s consecration. Offering every area of your life back to God, unhindered by the world’s clutter. You were created for more – more of Jesus’ love, joy and purpose!