Things in Their Place

Bucharest/scales

Matthew 6:19-24

19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

In this culture of accessorizing, color coordinating, style and sets, sometimes it is easy to lose sight of the place of things.  Are things in the right place in your life?

Question: If a stranger walked into your home, what would they say you loved the most based on your possessions?

Question: When someone walks into your house, can they relax and enjoy fellowship with you or are they distracted by all the “things that they see” and are they concerned about their child spilling a drink on your rug/carpet or breaking one of your things?

Question: Do you find yourself embarrassed that your home is not more accessorized or doesn’t have the proper flow?  Are you concerned about your bedspread being outdated, your floors a little dingy, your carpet a little stained?

There is potential in our country- to focus so much energy on things- accumulating them- that we forget that according to God’s Word- chasing after those things is foolishness.  Look at Ecclesiastes-everything is meaningless- a chase after the wind.

How often do you impulsively buy?  Not planning ahead, considering what you need, but rather just seeing something and burning inside with desire to possess it.

Is that desire from the Lord?  If you had time to think about it- would you come back to get it?

Open this area of your life up to the Lord’s correction.  Ask Him to convict you when you are putting “things” in too high of a priority.  Ask Him to direct you to where you should be utilizing all the resources He has blessed you with- your time and your money.

When I got to college, I went crazy spending money on clothes.  I made about 600 dollars a month and spent almost every penny on clothing- the rest on eating out.

My parents had taught me good principles- but I was too busy enjoying my freedom and living in the moment to think about the long term consequences- or the loans that were going to come due in four years.

In different seasons of your life, you may long after different “material” things.  It is good to continually examine your priorities and be watchful that your longing for things is not surpassing your passion to serve and be obedient to God.

When we say to ourselves, I deserve this or I have earned this, and that becomes our reasoning for why we accept our choices– we are coming at things from the wrong perspective- an earthly perspective.

I work hard, I have earned this.  We are elevating ourselves over God- we are denying the Lord’s provision in securing a job- in allowing us the opportunity to get the schooling necessary to be where we are right now.

Every good thing in our life comes from God- EVERYTHING.

I literally feel like I am in a battle daily fighting this urge to want material things- to be tempted to seek fulfillment or pleasure in buying that dress that looks cute or that frame that would look so nice here or that plant stand that could go by that window….etc.  Fill in the blank with your own weaknesses.

These things do NOT SATISFY.  We are chasing after the wind- and in doing so, we may be causing our brothers and sisters in Christ to fall.

What if others were not so fortunate as us to have parents that were “wealthy?”  Maybe they never got to go to college, and live very simply in that “not so nice” part of town.

When they look at the abundance of “things” in our life- how we surround ourselves with possessions- we may trip them up by causing them to long for those things more than God.

By staying focused on Christ and being strongly rooted in Him, we encourage our brothers and sisters to seek the Lord also.

Be careful not to look at this issue through the lens of legalism.  God is concerned with our hearts- do we love these possessions (or accumulating them) more than our neighbor? Are we thinking about accessorizing our house more than we are loving those around us and sharing Christ?

Are we willing to help someone in need instead of buying a new couch or TV?

Only we can answer these questions for ourselves.  We are accountable to God- and our foremost concern should be obedience to Him- not whether our neighbors or other Christians approve of the amount of “stuff” we have.

We must be willing to accept the Lord’s correction in how we prioritize the spending of our money- if we don’t then we are not truly submitting our finances to Him- we still are harboring some sense of ownership over this area of our life- failing to acknowledge that financial blessings also come from God.

James 4:1-10

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives,that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us? But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:

“God opposes the proud
    but shows favor to the humble.”

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

My hubby and I went to Michael’s not too long ago.  I had not been shopping in a while.  Beyond going to the grocery store with a list- I do not shop- because for me I end up being tempted to spend my money on things we don’t need.

So, we went to Michael’s to buy some craft supplies for our daughter- finger paint and construction paper.  I got caught up in the gardening section and really struggled.  I finally had to just tell my hubby that we needed to leave.

I was surprised at how quickly I was rationalizing purchasing things we did not need.

How could I be so quick in wanting to spend money on my own pleasure?  But I feel that draw, shopping is a weak spot for me.

I pray that if this is an area where you are weak also that you would pray and ask God to help you, and that you would abstain from shopping without a list for a while.

Determine to not buy on impulse.  Take some time to consider whether or not you should be spending your money on that item.  Do you truly need it?

We miss out on opportunities to bless others in need when we spend so much time focused on our own pleasure- and start thinking of our money as ours- it is not- it belongs to the Lord.

Our finances can be a final stronghold, an area where we say- I trust you God but…  I hope to encourage you to open yourself (your family) up to the Lord’s leading in your own finances- how can you make changes today to reflect that you serve God with your finances?

Lord, please transform our minds through the power of your Holy Spirit working through us.  May we cling to you and you alone.  May all wordly trappings lose their appeal as we center our gaze on only those things that are pleasing in your sight.  If “things” are an idol in our life Lord, convict us.  May we repent today and endeavor to live submitted to your will with the money you have entrusted to our care.  May we encourage each other by living simple lives.

Shopping at Prague

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