I don’t think it would be a breaking news story to suggest that Americans have a problem with coveting. Don’t get me wrong, everyone does. This is not a uniquely American issue. However, you would be hard pressed to find a society in the world that does more to ACTIVELY PROMOTE coveting as something that is actually to be desired. We treat coveting as something to strive for and not something to be avoided.
Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. 1 Corinthians 9:19-22
This morning at 1:30 AM was one of those mornings. Stress would not be the correct word for how I felt this morning when I couldn’t fall back to sleep. Just mentally cluttered. It was hard to turn my brain off as I tossed and turned. Finally I gave in and accepted the fact that I wasn’t falling back asleep any time soon and maybe I should get up and spend time with God. So I went downstairs, grabbed a glass of water, and settled in to see what God had for me today. What truth did he want to uncover? Well, not exactly…
With virtually any sin issue in our lives, there are almost always self-inflicted challenges we have to deal with on the backend. These challenges may be with our health, finances, career, emotional health, trust with others, etc. Sin issues in our life almost always leave behind some “inhabitants” in our lives that we are forced to deal with as thorns in our side.
God wants raw. God wants unfiltered. God is unafraid of our anger, frustration, and hurt. He wants us to lay it all before him, not just what we perceive as the good stuff. To God, it is all good stuff. He wants us to be authentic with him.
When we begin to say, “Look at how closely I am walking with Jesus! No wonder things are going well! God is blessing me because of what a faithful follower I have been!” pride can very quickly set in. We begin to feel like these blessings are something that we have earned and are entitled to “because of our amazing faith”.
To be clear, I am not arguing for or against either of these positions. I am merely stating that we have an interesting way, as a church, of being incredibly selective of which issues we decide truly outrage us and what issues we will throw our collective political weight behind. I would challenge anyone to go back and read the entire book of Matthew, every single word Jesus spoke while on earth, and see if you come to the conclusion that we are fighting the right cultural fights at this moment in time. Are our collective actions bringing others to Christ or pushing them away?
If you give an infant solid food, it will wreak havoc on the poor baby’s digestive system. If you attempt to help a non-believer see how they might potentially be out of step with the life God had planned for them before they have even come to know and accept Jesus, it wreaks havoc as well.
It is amazing how stubborn we can be when pursuing our own will for our lives instead of having our eyes open to see God’s will. It usually ends with us feeling like Balaam; foot crushed, plan stalled out, frustrated at our current situation, and unsure why our plan seems to be failing so miserably at the time!
There is beauty in simplicity when talking to new Christians or people that do not yet know Christ. Paul was not trying to give huge lessons on church doctrine. He simply told people that this Jesus character loved them so much that he willingly laid down his own life so that they might have eternal life. He told that that Jesus was God’s son, came down to earth, was crucified for our sins, and on the third day rose from the dead. He came willingly for you and me.