Friday, November 4, 2011

You want MORE!?!?


Yesterday I talked about when we squander God's gifts for our lives.  Today I want to talk about those time when God's provision and blessings are not enough.  Today I want to talk about the times we want more.  This generally stems from pride and envy.  We envy what other people have and we have pride to think that either we deserve it or that we know better than God that it would be better for us to have it.  Today we will begin with the lesson of David and Bathsheba as told by God through Nathan the prophet.
Then Nathan said to David, "You [are] the man! Thus says the LORD God of Israel: 'I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. I gave you your master's house and your master's wives into your keeping, and gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if [that had been] too little, I also would have given you much more! Why have you despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in His sight? You have killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword; you have taken his wife [to be] your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the people of Ammon.'  2 Samuel 12:7-9 NKJV
God had given David everything and if David needed more, God would have given more.  Unfortunately, that was not enough for David.  He wanted all that he had and all that God would have given him and he wanted Bathsheba too.  David fell to envy.  He coveted his neighbor's wife, quite literally.  He was prideful in thinking that as king, he should have her.  And he did, he took her and impregnated her.  Still not done, he tried to cover it up, and when that did not happen (because her husband was too good of a man), he had her husband killed and took her to be his own as his wife.  The son born from that evil relationship was taken by God and David had war all the rest of the days of his life.  He had gotten what he wanted, but at great cost.  And this all from a man called a man after God's own heart. We should heed the hard lessons from this passage that taking that which God has not provided or desires us to have comes with great consequence.  This is not just a matter of God's chastisement, but of circumstances that come with whatever it is we have taken.  You see, God knows better and if it was best for us to have that thing, God would have given us.  Therefore it is not just a matter of God's chastisement, but merely the consequences of having something that God warned us was not in our best interests.  

We love to talk about God giving good things to those who ask of Him, but we often want to project our own ideas of what good is.  We fail to learn that the good things that God is speaking of are things that are good from God's perspective.  This is where the prosperity doctrines go off the tracks.  They encourage their followers to imagine those things that they desire and ask God for them.  Coincidentally (or not), this is the same method used to get people involved in multi level marketing scams.  They will gather people together and tell them to imagine all the great things that they want.  They will tell them to imagine their dream car, their dream house, and even their dream life.  Then they convince them that they can have those things and be their own boss just by getting involved.  My friend who was for a time an Amway salesman told me of this process (called visioning).  He was a young Christian who was scammed into this arrangement and did nothing but make money for his upline.  He made nothing.  Now some are successful, but it is never from making sales.  The successful ones are the ones who get salesman under them to do their work.  It is amazing how Amway is such a picture for the prosperity movement.  Their teachers tell you to ask God specifically for the things you want.  Do not just ask God for a car, but ask God for your dream car. Apparently God does not know what car you want so He will just ignore you until tell Him.  Not only that, they are taught to ask God for the best things.  They teach their people that they should be driving Rolls Royces, not Kias.  They teach their people that they should not be middle or lower class, but rich.  They teach their people that they should be living "your best life now."  The one law they do ask their people to follow is to tithe.  Apparently, you can sin all you want and not feel a tinge of guilt about it, but if you fail to pad the pockets of the sheister teacher, then God has some problems with you.  It is multi level marketing in Christian clothes.  The pastor is the upline and you send him your money hoping to have what he has.  All you do is make him more and more of an example of what you will never be. 

The point is that those doctrines teach us to figure out for ourselves what is best for us and to believe that the best is what he wants for us.  This is what happens when we get frustrated if we see other people winning the lottery, getting the promotion, having the nice car, going on the exotic vacations, and eating at the finest restaurants.  We envy those things and think they are best for us.  We think that nice cars and money will make us happy. We think the arm-candy girlfriend will make us happy.  We think that fame and fortune and living the celebrity life will make us happy.  We think we know better than God, but we are terribly and tragically wrong.  Wealthy people get caught up in drugs and commit suicide all the time.  They also spend a lot of that money on whatever kind of happiness counseling is trendy at that time.  Wealth does not make them happy at all.  Some wealthy people are happy, but how do you know which one you would be?  Did you create yourself?  Do you know your own heart?  No, you do not.  The same is true to the car that you spend more time worrying about and taking care of than enjoying.  I know someone who restored a classic car himself.  It took him several years and a lot of money to get it perfect.  He was only driving it for a day or two before he totaled it in an accident.  Do you think that the arm candy girlfriend will make you happy?  No matter how someone looks, you still have to live with who they are.  Could you imagine living with some of those arm candy celebrities each day?  How soon would that beauty be hidden under the ugliness of who they are.  I have had the arm candy girlfriend in my life, and she was an absolute miserable nightmare.  As for fame and fortune, would you really want the celebrity life?  It might be nice to have everyone who sees you want you autograph or shake your hand, but imagine not being able to turn that off.  Imagine what a curse that can become where everything you do becomes a story in some gossip magazine.  Imagine cameramen following you wherever you go. 

In the end, this is about submission.  It is about submitting ourselves to God's will for our lives and accepting the blessings and provision He has provided for us.  It is about submitting to His knowledge of what is really best for us.  If you are not happy in that, the problem is not in what God has provided for you, but in you for not submitting yourself to it.  Joy and peace come in submission, not in rebellion.   Be content with what you have and you will find that abundant life in the one God has planned for you.  You will not find it by seeking other things.  You will only find hardship.  David faced that with Bathsheba.  All the women, wealth, and fame in the world will not make you happy if that is not what God has given to you.  If you do not believe me, just read Ecclesiastes, written by a king with great wisdom who amassed much wealth, women, and fame for himself.  I think that is the greatest letdown we can give ourselves.  You see, the worst thing that can happen is to seek after those things and actually get them. It is then, when all our envious and prideful dreams come true and we think we have it all, that we see it for the empty illusion that it was.  We created a world outside what God has made for us and a world outside of God is an empty world indeed.  Be content with what God has for you, find your peace in joy in His perfect provision for your life.
Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into [this] world, [and it is] certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and [into] many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all [kinds of] evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.  1 Timothy 6:6-11 NKJV

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