God Has More
Continuing reflections from yesterday’s devotion, I would suggest that if our motives and desires are simply to get more stuff or increase our pleasures without consideration for how those desires affect other people in our lives, then the motives and desires are probably not pure.
One thing I continue to learn is: God does want us to enjoy this life he has given us on earth. The Apostle Paul reveals this truth to Timothy when he writes:
Command those who are rich [by the way: that’s most Americans according to the world’s standard] in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share (1 Tim 6:17-18 [NIV]).
Being rich is not the problem. Paul says that rich people should not be arrogant or proud about what they do possess. Additionally, he says that we should not put our hope in wealth, but put our hope in God. Where is your security today? (Trust me: This is a lesson that comes up again and again in my life.) In our culture, we have to fight against the false sense that if we have more stuff, we will be more secure or free to do this or that. Growing in our trust of God in every area of life is an ongoing process. One of the reasons we can trust God is because he has our best interest at heart. He has and does provide everything for our enjoyment. When God has graciously and generously blessed us, his desire is that we turn around and use those blessings to bless other people. Paul complements James teaching when he writes: our faith should compel us to perform good deeds towards our neighbors (James 2:14-24). We should be generous and willing to share.
So again, we must regularly check the motives of our desires and get to the root of our reasoning for asking God for riches:
When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with the wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely? But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:
“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble (Prov 3:34).”
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you (James 4:3-7 [NIV]).
If we are not cautious, the pleasures of this world are sure to breed a spirit of pride and get us in trouble every time. James refers to the love of the pleasures of this world as spiritual adultery which can lead to physical idolatry and adultery on many levels. I pray pretty regularly that I do not grow to love the things of this world, and I pray the same prayer for my husband and daughter. I also pray for the blood of Jesus to cover us, which is essentially a prayer of grace because I know if left to myself, I will make the wrong choices every time. I need God’s grace to live in a manner that is pleasing to him. This reality alone is a humble cry of submission. Then I pray several scriptural prayers for spiritual warfare to help us stand against the schemes of the devil.
So, what’s God’s cure for the sin of covetousness?
- Check our motives and desires
- Be content
- Trust God and satisfy ourselves with Him alone
- Be thankful and enjoy what we already have
- Pray fervently so that you can stand against the schemes of the devil
Friend, may I pray for you today?
God, I know that you love us, your children, and you have great plans for our lives far beyond what we may understand or willingly accept right now. I thank you, God, that you do not waste anything in our lives. You know what we have need of before we ask and you care about the things that concern us. I pray, God, that you will give us desires that are in alignment with your will and that we will be good stewards when you grant our requests. May we not be impatient as we wait on you. May we grow in grace and trust you without wavering. Strengthen us to stand against the schemes of the enemy by the power of the Holy Spirit that you have placed within us. In all these things may we delight in you and glorify you. In Jesus name, Amen.
© Natasha Sistrunk Robinson 2013