Thinning closets, purging the garage, lightening our schedules, making space… we long for a lighter life. Why?

Because we have too much stuff, we are doing too much stuff, and we feel weighed down by it all. Which is perhaps the reason the simplicity movement keeps gathering momentum in our day. From Keep It Simple handbooks to organizational coaches to IKEA and the tiny house trend, we have realized that when it comes to stuff, “the more” is not always “the merrier.”

We all feel the urge to simplify, lighten our load and decrease clutter.

But, even more than reducing the stuff in our closets, we need to declutter our hearts.

John the Baptist shows us how to reduce heart clutter. His words about Jesus in John 3:30— “He must increase. I must decrease.”—are often quoted as an example of humility. True, but, in context, these words were also spoken in response to the heart-clutter of his disciples.

In John 3:25-26, John’s disciples came to him and basically said, “Hey Master, that man whom you baptized – you know, Jesus — He is now baptizing others and everyone’s going to him!”

Jesus’ seeming success bothered John’s disciples and their reaction was creating some clutter in their hearts.

Though the Scriptures don’t identify the exact emotions of John’s disciples, we have all lived long enough to make some educated guesses of the possibilities. Perhaps John’s disciples felt:

JealousyPeople always flock to the newest start-up. Maybe if John ditched the camel’s hair we could get better PR. Jealousy clutters our hearts.

TerritorialismWe were here first! What right does Jesus have to copycat our unique ministry? Territorialism clutters our hearts.

EntitlementThose crowds are ours! We began the baptismal work at the Jordan. We deserve their loyalty. Entitlement can clutter our hearts.

FearIf everyone follows Jesus, there won’t be anyone for John to baptize and what will become of us? Fear is heart clutter.

Offense—How dare Jesus use John like a stepping-stone to start His own thing! Who does He think He is?! Offense clutters our hearts.

Whatever their motivations and emotions, John’s disciples were clearly distracted by heart-clutter. Their heart-cluttered impaired their spiritual vision–they lost sight of John’s real purpose, and, more importantly, they could not see Jesus well. Truly that is the greatest danger of heart-clutter: It blocks our view of Jesus.

You have an opportunity to declutter your heart.  Like John, you can decrease so Jesus can increase in your life.  That’s the journey I have been on—a journey of sacred decrease that has brought my soul simplicity.  I want you to experience the interior simplicity that comes when you declutter your heart of whatever is keeping you from seeing Jesus clearly.  Join me for 40 days of decrease. Instead of  decreasing our social media or fasting from designer coffee, for 40 Days we will fast regret, hypocrisy, revisionism, comparison, and whatever else is cluttering your heart.

As we decrease, not only will we see Jesus more clearly, others will see Jesus too.

Written by Alicia Britt Chole. This article is originally published at
You may check out the author’s book at