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Posts Tagged ‘possessions’

The More Important Blessings

June 8th, 2016

Better is the little that the righteous has than the abundance of many wicked. (Psalm 37:16)

Providing for our loved ones is a Christian duty (1 Tim. 5:8), yet the things we provide should not only be material in nature. The most important possessions in life are invisible and intangible – inner peace, the love and acceptance of our parents, the gift of instilling inner confidence, a happy and loving home, courage and hope are among them.

The most precious of these invisible gifts are spiritual in nature and include the righteousness of Christ to cover our sins, the assurance of our salvation, the gift of the indwelling Spirit, inclusion in the redemptive family of God, and eternal life. Whatever else we may gain in life, we should first and foremost gain Christ. Until we have Christ we do not have the most important thing of life.

Consider just one aspect of the work of the Spirit in our lives: peace of mind. Whatever else we may have we will not enjoy it without peace of mind.

Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows; it empties today of its strength. (Corrie Ten Boom)

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:4-7)

The gifts of courage and inner peace come from God, and only by his grace can we truly enjoy life. So the little that a righteous person has is of much more value to him in actuality than the abundance of things possessed by those without faith. Through faith we see what we cannot see otherwise (Heb. 11:1).

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Parable of the Sower, Part 3

January 17th, 2015

The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful.

Matthew 13:22

The original hearers of these words were accustomed to farming, either they were engaged in it themselves or they grew up and lived in a rural community. They had seen this happen to seed, but Christ said that it could also happen to a human heart with regard to the message of salvation. The ground is fertile and soft and deep enough for a root system. The problem was with the other vegetation, namely thorns or other natural growth that every farmer must clear from his land to have a crop.

Christ’s emphasis was not on competing ideologies, though certainly those can be issues, but rather on the worries of this life and on sheer materialism that choke out the gospel. Worries about what we shall eat or drink or wear, where we will live, and these cares of life are necessities. The matter before our hearts is simply whether or not we believe that God has and provide the means by which we may earn these. To be overly concerned about these things means to separate God from our daily life, and it is the heart that worries that does not believe.

But the other idea that chokes out the gospel is greed and pride. Materialistic wealth is one of the greatest ideas of human life on this planet, and it has been for millennia. The gospel speaks not only of what spiritual riches we may own in Christ, but of Christ’s ownership of us, that He has bought us twice, by creation and by the redemption that came from His own blood (1 Cor. 6:20).

These ideas “spring up” just thorns that are not visible on the surface at planting but are beneath the surface with a strong root system. If you have come from a family where the worry over daily necessities was a regular matter of concern, or the desire and the worship of wealth was often spoken of, then you have laid in your life a root system that will haunt your soul all the days of your life. The only way to resolve this is through faith and trust in God.

Wealth and worry are deceptive. About that matter there can be no question. What we own does not change our hearts to make us better people in and of itself. We are still the same person, whether rich or poor, but we may feel more important, and therein lies the deception.

Though we may admire anyone who through hard and honest work has enriched himself, the greater elements of that story are the disciplines he learned, the benefit of his labor to others, namely his family and society in large, but we would not say that the wealth alone has increased his spiritual, emotional weight. In fact, they may even lessen and weaken it. They may make him emotionally poorer, more deceived, more vain and proud, more arrogant, and more shallow.

Wealth itself is not here condemned, rather it is the worry over it and the deceitfulness of it that are condemned. Whatever you hold in your hand in regard to this world’s wealth, hold on to it lightly, for it will surely be taken from you at death if not before. What you truly own, and all that you may truly own, are those eternal things that Christ offers. They alone are eternal – forgiveness, grace, sonship, peace, assurance of love, confidence before Him, true life, security of our position in Him.

For us who believe, there is an application – that we may not be deceived by the wealth of this world, nor to be overwhelmed by the circumstances of life. Let us live by faith in God, that He will provide us with what we need and that we do not improve our true eternal worth through material things as they are isolated from life. Enjoy what opportunities God has given you. Do not worry over the future nor lust over great wealth. Live each day with faith in God. Enjoy the material things He has allowed you to have, but treasure Him and His grace far, far above all other things.

We are taught to use our hands to bless others, serving God in whatever capacity possible. We are told not to be dishonest but honest, that the believer “must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need” (Eph. 4:28). That is what brings true joy to the heart.

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