Does what we desire define us?
Tonight I had my now weekly talk with the big boys about how they think our family doesn't have as much as everyone else at school. (insert long sigh...)
Anyone else know this talk? It's exhausting as a parent and yet in all honesty, doesn't each of us fight this battle too? There is always someone who has a better life than we do and we all have moments of wanting what others have, but has our desire for that stuff and chasing a specific life for our family defined us negatively without us even realizing it?.
I am guilty.
Desire for the things this world offers can be good, but most often leads down a crooked path, lit by envy and strife because it doesn't satisfy.
A path void of joy where thriving in Christ doesn't exist. And that should send off an alarm bell because your desires are going to end up defining you.
So why do we do it? Is it for Status and our image sake? Do we really believe that life will be happier if we have a better travel life or better stuff? Will others like us more if we have it all? Will they like us less if we don't have it all? I just stressed myself out writing that!
So what did I say in response to my boys? I told them I get it. I told them in the worlds ideas of success and wealth we don’t have it all. And that’s actually ok. It’s really really ok because we can have all this world, but if we lose our souls, we have gained nothing. Shifting our perspective is everything.
Because we just can't find our value in what we have or even the pursuit of getting what we want, not even for a moment.
I reminded us all of Matthew 6,
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21
We may have heard that verse from childhood, but how often do our actions prove we forgot that? Our eyes drift from the prize - Jesus Christ, the author and perfecter of our faith and we chase broken treasures. We spend more time desiring things and conspiring how we will successfully get them. We care too much about our image and having #ourbestlifenow over pursuing him, how he has defined us and how he wants us to live.
And guess what? Our kids are watching. Monkey see, monkey do.
Maybe, we get so consumed in our own desires and pursuing what our best life should be because we haven't spend enough time in prayer seeking what HIS desires are for us. Maybe we need to daily remind ourselves as Christians of our first love, and where our value and identity is found:
I was a sinner on my way to an eternity apart from Jesus, full of the sin that separated me from Him. I was so undeserving of His love and yet He still showed me mercy and paid the price for my sin by his death on the cross. He forgave me and loved me unconditionally, and now I am a sinner saved by grace. And I weep at that. What a gift, what pure G R A C E.
I am HIS and I don't belong to this world or anything it offers.
You guys, we can do this, let's not let our desires become our idols, sitting on the throne of our hearts as they attempt to define us. Stuff isn't bad, travel and having fun isn't bad! But when the desire for these things begin to effect what who we love first (God), we have a problem.
Jesus alone is the greatest treasure and worthy of our time and adoration, far more than anything this broken world has to offer.
He is true joy and lasting peace, and the rest that we find in Him surpasses everything!
I wonder as a parent if I have indirectly taught my kids to be ungrateful. I know I have said one too many times, “oh if we only had... or, I need this...”
But it’s ALL a gift, everything we have is a gift, the trips, the houses, the opportunities, and if we lost it all, that’s actually ok because it’s not what defines us, it’s not where our treasure should be.
When we try our best to treasure Jesus above all else, just maybe that will radiant to our kids and their value will also begin to be found in Christ alone. Isn’t that the best gift we can give them?
As I finished praying with the boys I encouraged them to repent... to get right before God and turn in their idols of what they are coveting. Victory comes when we know that we have the power to turn the enemy away when he tempts us to envy and replace it with gratitude for all we have been gifted - number one being the saving of our souls.
Friends, if we have nothing in this world except for Jesus, He is more than enough. In Him We can live and move and have our being, for In Him there truly is fullness of JOY.