Originally published May 23, 2015
At 121 Community Church we have been going through a sermon series called, "Break Every Chain" (those of you that know that song, it's now stuck in your head for the rest of the day). The main theme of the series is throwing off sins that entangle us and keep us from a deeper relationship with God. The first 2 sermons were fascinating. #1 - Guilt. Learning to let go of the idea that "I owe you (God, friend, family member, etc)" something. #2 - Anger. Letting go of the idea that "You owe me." Very interesting topics. But today's message wasn't just interesting. It was convicting. Greed - "I owe me".
I have been aware for several years that I have a problem with self-soothing. I like to eat, shop and escape into TV and books. I have often thought of these activities as selfish, but somehow labeling them "greed" takes it to a whole nutha level. None of these are bad or sinful in and of themselves, but I use them all to make myself feel better - not for the mere enjoyment of the activity. I believe my life with Shelby is hard. Deep down I do. I don't make it a habit of feeling sorry for myself, but I do whatever I want to make myself feel better. I'm not sure which is worse. You see, buried in the recesses of my heart is obviously the belief that I DESERVE (what?) whatever will make my life more bearable in the moment - without thinking of consequences to my health, my bank account or God's kingdom work that I could be hindering. Even though spiritual inventories tell me that I'm strong in faith, at the core, I quite honestly doubt that God will take care of me the way I think He should. I trust Him to take care of Shelby, but I don't trust Him to comfort me and care for my feelings. I'm not sure where the breakdown of my emotional intelligence is because I understand perfectly what I need to do on paper. I need to put my faith into action so that I trust God with my insecuries and fears. I need to turn to Him in times of trouble and depression and stop leaning on these paltry substitutes.
Andy Stanley in "Enemies of the Heart: Breaking Free from the Four Emotions that Control You" says that generosity is the solution to greed. That doesn't quite ring true for me in my situation. Because I love to be generous. Giving to others makes me as happy as getting things for myself. So I guess you could say that giving becomes another form of boosting my own morale. So, what is the solution for me? "Trust and obey. For there's no other way, to be happy in Jesus - but to trust and obey." Makes for a nice chorus, but it is going to take me a lot of soul searching, studying God's word, and practicing trust to get there. I'm praying today is the beginning of repentance. If any of my online friends have tackled something similar in your life, I would love to hear about what helps you to put things into God's hands.
"Beward, and be on your guard against EVERY FORM (emphasis mine) of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions." Luke 12:15