I’m reading a book right now that captured my attention in the introduction. There were a few sentences, deep and true, that made me hunger for more. The more I read, though, the more I find a few great ideas and a lot of filler.
Books, blog posts, lectures and sermons go this way often, it seems. Like a school English assigment, we keep adding words to fill up space or keep the attention on us longer, when in reality we only have a few important things to say. It can be hard to recognize pearls of wisdom and insight when they’re drowning in meaningless detail.
My father was a newspaper editor, and he taught me how to edit out the filler to get to the heart of the message. We honor people’s time and attention when we do this. We honor God when we do this in our lives as well.
We don’t just do this with words. How much of my life is filler? Perhaps I’ve had a profound experience with God. Am I building on it? Or, has most of my life since then been filler?
God describes filler as wood, hay and stubble. When trouble and loss come, filler will not hold us together. Like the fable of the three little pigs, it will blow away in the storm and leave us cold and exposed.
Filler happens when we say we read the Bible but we really only look at a verse on Instagram. Filler happens when we pray for our immediate needs and maybe those of our friends, but don’t pray for our enemies or for the will of God to be done on earth as it is in heaven. Filler happens when we rush through our days without the companionship of our Savior.
Filler happens when we don’t give thanks, and cycle into discontent and boredom instead.
Filler happens when we live for ourselves instead of for the beauty of the glory of God.
James 1 says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
We have been handed a golden opportunity in the form of a pandemic, to build perseverance and faith. Trials tend to make us evaluate our priorities and offer us a chance to change direction. Instead of just cleaning out our closets, let’s clean out our souls, and build something solid and true.
Jesus said that at the end, our lives will be exposed for what has held us together. Will it be faith?