Tuesday, November 10, 2020

The Prison Of Our Choices

Tuesday, November 10, 2020  Some material is from Learning Contentment by Sam Nobles

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
1 John 2:15-17

Discontentment Leads to Imprisonment:

If we were honest, most of us live in discontentment. It comes much more naturally to our human nature, so we have to be vigilant to not let it consume us. We are always trying to make ourselves better and usually we are looking for the better version of most things in our lives. This can fast become a prison cell that we find ourselves locked into.

Discontentment causes me to look horizontally; that is, looking at what others have, leaving me in a state where I am never satisfied. On the other hand, contentment invites me to look vertically; that is, at God. When I look in his direction, regardless of my possessions or lack of or status or lack of, I know that He is enough – Sam Nobles.

Discontentment Leads to Poor Choices With Lasting Consequences:
When we start turning to other things besides God to make us happy, we usually make some poor choices. Many people turn to drugs, alcohol and other sins of the flesh to make themselves feel better and numb the pain and discontentment they feel. While these things may bring momentary satisfaction, the long-term effects can be devastating. Unfortunately, we do not learn until we have pretty much destroyed our lives – lost our families, drowned ourselves in debt, or end up with an addiction that ruins us. The very things that we seek to free us from discontentment, enslave and imprison us with addictions. We just trade one prison for another.

Looking at the world around us will make us discontent – what others have that we don’t can leave us feeling continuously unsatisfied. Instead, if we will look up to God, we will find contentment, regardless of our possessions, or lack of possessions.

      All we have belongs to God. If we are Christians, everything we have is His, and in the grand scheme of things, they don’t matter. They won’t comfort you when you are sad, save you from hell, and you won’t be able to take them to heaven. They are not guaranteed to be here tomorrow either because they are temporary like everything else in this world. Only eternal things will matter in the end.  You may think they will bring you contentment while you are here – and they may – but eventually they won’t make you happy anymore.

      You are not your possessions. God does not care what your house looks like, what kind of car you drive, what brand of clothes you have on, or shoes you wear. He cares about your heart, and that is what He will know you by.  Your possessions do not define you, or at least they shouldn’t. If you are more well known by your possessions than you are for your love of God and your witnessing for His glory, then you may want to re-prioritize your life. Beauty fades. If the beautiful woman is not known by her beautiful heart, she will have nothing when she grows old and wrinkles and gray hair come. What you have, what you look like, or where you live all fade away, but the beauty of a soul filled with the Lord will never fade.

Don’t lock yourself into the prison of discontentment. Don’t lock yourself into the prison of stuff either. If we don’t learn to be content with our lives, what we have and who we are, we will develop contempt for life. Chasing contentment leads to one prison after another when you don’t find it in the Lord. Stuff leads to the prison of debt and it is hard to not let that prison define you and fill you with contempt for yourself and the life you have made by your poor choices. There is a way out, but it is not easy and the key to this prison is heavy. Look up, vertically instead of horizontally, and find satisfaction in the Lord. There is freedom, and true contentment only to be found in Him.

 All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful. All things are lawful for me, 
but I will not be enslaved by anything. 1 Corinthians 6:12

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