The American way to 'ease' the uncomfortableness of those feelings is to go buy something new. And it works. Temporarily. The restless monster within has been appeased and we're happy with our new purchases. Temporarily. Until the bill for the purchases arrive! Or until the next new item hits the T.V. commercials. Or until we see someone in need and we have no money to help them. Or until an emergency arrives and we find that we don't have any savings. Then we hate ourselves for giving in to those desires.
I've been reading through the book of 1 John this month. This scripture continues to jump off the page:
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world - the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and the pride in possessions- is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. 1 John 2:15-17 ESV (emphasis mine)
I am slowly seeing that the American Dream of buying bigger and better and more is NOT the life we are commanded to live in scripture.
But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. 1 Timothy 6:8
Look around your home right now and take an inventory of what you own TODAY. I'm just looking at my 'extra' bedroom where I am sitting as I write. I have a large desk, chair, full bed, a closet full of clothes, a ceiling fan, sewing machine, 2 tall bookshelves (crammed with books), office supplies, 2 bins of material in the closet, a computer and a printer, a small closet full of my clothes, etc., etc., etc. I am way beyond food and clothing.Now the question is... am I content?
Am I content TODAY with what God has given? Or do I feel like I need just one more thing to make me happy. (If I only had that new throw rug for my living room floor THEN I wouldn't need to buy anything else. Of if I only could buy those slats for the cyclone fence THEN I wouldn't need to buy anything else!).
Nope! Food and clothing is the dividing line!
If we are focused on the things of this world then chances are we will not be focused on the things of the Lord.
No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. Matthew 6:24
Imagine what we could do with all that extra money we spend on stuff each paycheck. It still adds up even if it's the few extra things from the dollar store. Many believers say they have no extra money to help the poor but if we really added up all the little extra's we buy I bet we'd be surprised what we could give to those who are in need.
For today... can I be content? Can I do without buying anything extra for just one week besides food and clothing? Can I say to the 'desire of my eyes' that I have enough and I will be content with what God has given me!
By God's grace .... I will!
How about you? Do you struggle with these issues? What kind of things do you say to yourself when you compare your home to others?
Georgene--I just finished reading 7 by Jen Hatmaker. The lessons from this woman go right along with what you are writing about! Living with less!ReplyDelete
Hi Roxanne! :-)ReplyDelete
I just found the review on the book. Was the author a Christian? How did it motivate you?
Thanks for sharing!
This is a topic dear to my heart. Since I retired I now have more time to figure out how to save more on day to day needs, where I'm overspending and to try and clean up debt, stop spending needlessly and save for emergencies and helping others. You're doing well to think on these things. I also just read a book by Randy Acorn called "managing God's money". It focuses on giving and living simply so we can give more. I am a good giver but this book challenged me to do even better.ReplyDelete
So encouraged by your post this morning. God has been teaching me about "contentment" found in HIM...He satisfies my hunger and quenches my thirst. STOP ALREADY with the American Dream...it is destroying us....there is but ONE PURPOSE FOR OUR LIFE>...and that is to EXALT HIS NAME....I like what Joyful stated, "Managing God's Money". Isn't that so true! We see the things below b/c that is were our affections are: We are a threefold being, Spirit Soul and Body ...and affection is of the soul realm, if our soul is showing affections to the things below that will be where our worship is also....that is why we sometimes can leave another's one house and feel discouraged b/c temporarily we lost focus upon the "above" to check out the below..I don't know about you but I seem to always be on the short end of the stick...I are so blessed b/c of the Lamb of God ...ENJOYED ENJOYED YOUR POST TODAY!ReplyDelete
Thank you so much for this timely article! It was just what I needed to read to remind me of how blessed I am.ReplyDelete
We were just watching Charles Stanley on t.v. the other day preaching on tithing. He was saying how that when people tithe, their desire for material posessions begins to diminish. We have certainly found this to be true in our lives.ReplyDelete
Most people could do without buying clothing for a long time. It should not be in the same category as food.ReplyDelete
Awesome post. So easy to fall into the worlds way of thinking. There are blogs that I have stopped reading because they are just promoting rampant materialism under the disguise of being a "homemaking blog".
Glad I am Canadian...we never had an "American Dream" to have to live up to :)
I love your posts they are so true.. I often come home from visiting relations and feel discontented afterwards when I return home.. I need to stop looking at what I don't have and praise him for what I do..ReplyDelete
I have so much more than I need, I need to reasses what I am doing and do more with his money.
thankyou for this post.
This is so true! There are a few people that when after I visit their homes...I cant help but feel badly about mine. I am trying. I guess the one "good "thing is there really is no money to buy new anything around here LOL!ReplyDelete
I love this post!
I always find your posts soo inspiring and today's is no exception!! It is *exactly* what I needed to read tonight!! :)ReplyDelete
Very true...yes. I used to struggle a lot more than I do now with "wants", especially in my 20's. I think what has helped me the most to overcome the "wants" is having matured (early 40's now)in my Christian walk and also from a life standpoint...just growing and getting to the point where a dollar means so much more than it did to me 20 years ago. Being SATISFIED and HAPPY with what I have. Simplicity and the basics, following a much more frugal lifestyle than we did, seeing how that makes us happier than when we were struggling to buy 'stuff', stressing over paying all the bills, and 'keeping up with the Joneses'. One of the biggest payoffs now is teaching our son, who will soon be 9, to be smart about money, make wise choices, study what the bible tells us about handling our finances, and to not make the same money mistakes that his dad & I did when we married at 18 and continued to pay for and repeat the same mistakes, for a number of years until we wised up. It's so gratifying to see him wanting to give money that he earned to something special at church or to send to our Compassion International-sponsored child... when I was that age, extra money that I had was spent on makeup or candy! And, something that also helps me when I do want something that is not a necessity is to think about how many hours I have to work, or my husband has to work, in order to purchase that. That is usually enough to stop the purchase in its tracks. Dave Ramsey's books are inspiring and motivating, and very educational as far as setting up a budget, paying down debts, etc. And most importantly, God cares about all things in our lives...big and small...he cares about us if we are struggling with things and if we pray about these things and ask him to strengthen us and help us, then in His own time, whether sooner or later, He will.ReplyDelete
I'm not sure if I've ever commented on your blog before, but I do enjoy reading about your approach to living a more simple and Christian lifestyle.ReplyDelete
I had to respond to this because just this morning I found myself re-reading those same scripture verses and asking myself those exact questions...again.
It is hard to unlearn behaviors that have been part of our 'conditioning' since toddlerhood.
I am not one of the joneses, nor do I wish to be, however I do find myself trying to fill in the voids or the humdrums..
(or whatever the case may be)with some "thing" from time to time...Only our faith in Jesus can give us true contentment!
~God bless~ Lisa
Recently I gave away stuff to three newly wed couples and felt so free and wondered why I had to have so much extra.ReplyDelete
Not only do I appreciate this post, but I have taken to quoting what you have found in my last two posts.
1) The do the next thing poem
2) Scripting life quote from Joni and Ken you put on Facebook last Sunday
Thanks for letting the LORD transform your heart and sharing it with us. We are the richer because you blog and share elsewhere.
Hugs and prayers,
I have certainly left others homes feeling that way.ReplyDelete
I recently had a family over for dinner. She noticed my blender and said, "Oh, look, you have one of THOSE!" (It is am immersion blender). I actually use it several times a week, but I had seen them for years advertised for more than twice what I paid for mine. I told her that it was actually a lot less than the standard blenders that I had bought in the past (and burned through before) and where to get it for so little.
And yet, there were so many things not perfect (our couches are so torn they look like lions attacked them), but she noticed the thing that she didn't have. It was a good lesson for me on how others see us. Despite my lack of income, she still saw that I had things that she did not, and I realized that we each do that; we see things that we want that others have. We might not even notice the same things, because we are looking for the other things, subconsiously.