Chapter 8 of Philip Nation’s book tackles an area of struggle for me and most people I know. Do I see my possessions as both gift and a responsibility to God, or do they control my life? Do I possess them or is that they possess me?
The opening question sets up the discussion – what do I really want? The truth is, we can go through life chasing satisfaction by acquiring one new toy after another and be the biggest idolater on the planet, as we sit in our houses of worship declaring our love for Jesus.
Nation points out that this is an ageless issue, not one that is new because of Westerners relatively prosperous lives. The Old Testament is full of stories of God’s people being enticed to worship Baal, who is in many ways, the god of success and excess. Baal was a temptation because people thought he could grant their desires for more. If there was ever an opportunity to see that the contemporary version of the “prosperity gospel” is simply a repackaging of ancient false teaching, it is presented to you here as you reflect on the book’s appropriate call to look at the heart. In my heart I will see whether Jesus is enough to satisfy me or if I am constantly chasing other things because Jesus, to be honest about it, isn’t enough for me.
Please take some time to read again and reflect on the implications of these Scriptures:
Matthew 6:24 (ESV) “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.
Luke 12:34 (ESV) For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
John 10:10 (ESV) The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
Hebrews 13:5–6 (ESV) Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 6 So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”
Philippians 4:11–14 (ESV) Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me. 14 Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble.
2 Corinthians 9:8 (ESV) And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.
Acts 2:44–45 (ESV) And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.
Jeremiah 29:7 (ESV) But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.
PRAYER: Father, forgive me of my idolatry. Help me to see, that in every situation, You are enough. Show me the foolishness of chasing after things that make promises to fill my life, but are not capable of keeping that promise. Thank you for your blessings in my life. I deserve none of them. Thank you. Help me to have a generous heart like Yours. Amen.