This Week’s Outline


Grit Over Genius 7 – Cutting the Clutter
Matthew 22:34-40
2/25/18 BAC
Rev. Brian T. Smeal;
Adapted from Dan Reiland: “Grit Over Genius” (

All Scripture quoted from NIV unless otherwise noted

Today’s tip for making 2018 a great year of impact: Cut the Clutter

We too often surround ourselves with clutter

The cost of clutter

  • Time, in looking for lost items
  • Money, when bills are misplaced and wind up being paid late, or when you have to fix or replace things that were lost/broken while lost
  • Stress, when unexpected guests drop by and you fret over the appearance of your living room
  • Leisure, when you don’t have the time to clear the space AND do the activities you enjoy
  • Discouragement – When you feel like you simply cannot make any impact on the amount of clutter in your life so you feel defeated
  • Health – dirt, bacteria, and mold can accumulate right under your nose and you may not see it because it’s hidden by the clutter

A cluttered life is a very expensive life

  • The same is true spiritually

Matthew 22:36 – a certain Pharisee asks Jesus a question – “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

  • Pharisees were a group of religious men whose greatest error may have been that they viewed oral tradition as having the same authority as the written Word of God. They stated that some of their oral traditions went as far back as Moses, and were therefore authoritative[1]
    • Side note – they were not, and are not, as authoritative as the written Word of God
  • He was seeking clarity; seeking to cut through the religious clutter and get down to the truth.
    • In that, he should be commended.

Jesus tells him the first and greatest commandment is to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (v.37)

  • Heart, soul, mind – represents the totality of the human existence


  • “Heart” – from Gk. καρδία – That organ in the animal body which is the centre of the circulation of the blood, and hence was regarded as the seat of physical life
    • “Kardia” – hence Cardiology – the study of the heart
  • “Soul” – from Gk. ψυχή – The vital force which animates the body and shows itself in breathing. The soul as an essence which differs from the body and is not dissolved by death (distinguished from other parts of the body)
    • “Psuche” – hence psyche; psychology
  • “Mind” – from Gk. διάνοια – The mind as a faculty of understanding, feeling, desiring. Synonymous with ‘Spirit.’
    • I don’t know of an English word that is derived from “Dianoia.”

Heart… soul… mind. The Septuagint has “mind, soul, strength.” The expressions mean generally that God is to be loved with all our powers and faculties, and that nothing is to be preferred to him.[3]

True Christianity is not complicated – it’s knowing and loving Jesus

  • Knowing a friend or a spouse isn’t complicated; it just requires an investment
    • An investment of your time, resources, commitment, and affections
  • Jesus asks for the same – this is not an unreasonable request

Matthew 19 – Rich Young Ruler asks Jesus what he has to do to get eternal life

  • Here’s a man who had checked all the boxes; dotted all the I’s and crossed all the T’s, but Jesus says, ‘You still lack one thing – unshackle yourself from your self-imposed slavery to money and come, follow me.’
    • This is less about having two nickels to rub together, and more about making Jesus #1.
  • This Rich Young Ruler wanted what a lot of people today want – to earn his own way to heaven
    • Thank God that it doesn’t work that way!

The guy we read about in Matthew 22 was facing spiritual clutter

  • He didn’t know how to sort out what was real from what was made up
  • He’s trying to sort out the spiritual clutter

What sort of spiritual clutter are you facing?

Not sure you really believe what the Bible seems to be saying

  • Guy on TV says it means something altogether different
  • Commentary online says it means something else
  • Friend at the store says you shouldn’t even bother with the Bible
  • We start to wonder which one, if any, of them is right

Evaluate the “Friends of Clutter” in your life

  • Good intentions
  • Lack of a game plan
  • Procrastination
  • Others?

Good news – clutter can be conquered!

  • Clutter cannot be conquered quickly – be patient
  • Clutter cannot be conquered permanently – be persistent

Cutting through the clutter requires patient, persistent effort

  • That’s true with regard to your house, your garage, your office, your life, and your spirituality

Many voices competing for your attention

  • Tends to clutter up the landscape
  • The “Clutter Cutter” says make Jesus #1
  • Without exception
  • Without apology
  • Without excuse

You’ll find the spiritual clutter will start to clear.

  • Pray that God would help you to seek and see His truth!





Dig In Questions

What’s this?  A whole page of Dig In questions?  That’s right – plenty of opportunity for you to dig deeper into this morning’s message.  Ask these questions of yourself, and consider working together with a trusted friend or accountability partner.

  1. Other than time, money, stress, leisure, and health, what are some of the other “costs” of clutter?
  2. What are some of the things that compete with God for the #1 spot in your life? What will you do about them?  When?
  3. It’s okay to laugh about things like the word “Aardvark,” right? It’s a funny word, and we all know it.
  4. Is it time for some ‘spiritual house cleaning?” What does that look like?  How will you know when you’re done?
  5. What are some advantages to “Clearing the clutter” in your spiritual life?
  6. What sort of ‘Spiritual Clutter” are you facing today? What is the source of that clutter?  That is, what are the ‘friends of clutter’ in your life?  How can you work to ‘silence the voices’ of spiritual clutter in your life?
  7. What is the one/first area of Spiritual Clutter that you need to work on this week? When will you start to work on it?  Make a game plan now for best results.