When I was in Bible college we had a chapel service one day where the President of the college started preaching about getting rid of the sin in our lives.  In a spontaneous moment, he put a mop bucket on the stage and said there was anything in our lives that needed to go–music, inappropriate clothing, magazines, etc… to come put it in the bucket throughout the day.  No judgment.  And that night we would burn it together.

So throughout the day people brought various items and in the evening we had a big bon fire.  It was a great way to start a new year.

Something similar happened when Paul preached the gospel and people turned to the Lord.

And many who had become believers came confessing and disclosing their practices,  while many of those who had practiced magic collected their books and burned them in front of everyone. So they calculated their value and found it to be 50,000 pieces of silver.  In this way the Lord’s message flourished and prevailed. (Acts 19:18-20)

This wasn’t a forced burning as we have seen through history from totalitarian regimes, but rather a voluntary cleansing of ones that hinder a life.  It’s the “throwing off of everything that entangles and the sin that so easily hinders” (Heb 12:1).

Throughout the Old Testament similar events happened as well.  And also right here in 1 Sam 7.  When the people wanted to wholeheartedly follow the Lord, Samuel instructed them,

“If you are returning to the Lord with all your heart, get rid of the foreign gods and Astoreths that are among you, dedicate yourselves to the LORD and worship only Him” (1 Sam 7:3).

Sometimes in our pursuit of God, there are things that we need to get rid of in our lives.  I know one friend of mine who felt such a heaviness in her house, that one day she went throughout her house and got rid of some of the kid movies.  They seemed innocent enough at face value, but the reality was that a lot of them modeled sorcery, compromise and other practices.  Out they went.

This is not a bad thing to do.  Whether for your own home or if you’re a church leader, something for the community you serve.  It needs to be completely voluntary.  But sometimes we need to take an honest look at what is in our home, not justifying compromise.