A lot of people are looking for something to satisfy them, going from one thing to the next—a hobby, a sport, a new boyfriend, girlfriend or relationship, a car or a house. When you think about it, God has created so many wonderful opportunities for enjoyment. It’s only when material things in life become misplaced in our hearts, our priorities get whacked out and instead of an added blessing, we make them the priority or focus to our own unhappiness.
Distraction #1: Putting Things First
Enjoying things is good and it’s God’s plan. He richly gives us all things to enjoy. God’s design and plan are to share an abundance of things with us as an overflow of His love just as we enjoy giving good gifts to our children.
Interestingly enough, the world goes after money, success, and things (lots of things!), but they will criticize believers and ministers who share the goodness of God in regards to things. They hypocritically call it a “prosperity gospel.” Certainly the lust for things and the pride of life can choke love for God from the relationship, but if we seek Him first, His desire is to add the things of life to us.
What happens in any relationship when things or self-ambition start to choke out sincere love and a mutual exchange?
We lose our first love.
“As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. – 1 Timothy 6:17 ESV
“He satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” – Psalm 103:5
Things aren’t to be our source of joy. Hobbies aren’t what we give our life’s purpose to. Go ahead and believe God for things you need and the things you desire, but seek Him first. The Kingdom of God is not eating and drinking but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Romans 14:17)
It’s God’s Spirit that brings you peace and joy. I like to think of the word “enjoy.” I can’t look to the things that give me joy, but if I am “in joy,” in love with Jesus, then I am “in His joy” and can enjoy things secondly.
We’ve all experienced misplaced priorities.
When Gary and I were living in Tulsa, Oklahoma, I was pregnant with our first child. I had gotten it into my head that having a baby meant I also needed to own a home. We lived in a small apartment with furnishings that looked like they had survived the sixties. The avocado-colored kitchen appliances and shag carpeting really classed the place up! And, if that wasn’t bad enough, our dining room table was a cardboard box I had flipped upside down and covered with a tablecloth.
Our living conditions were bad because they were a reflection of our financial situation. But despite knowing we didn’t have the money to buy a house, I thought a house would make me happier. I told Gary I couldn’t raise our baby on shag carpeting.
I pushed the issue until we were in debt for a piece of property that was barely nicer than the apartment we came out of. And, sadly, it had shag carpet too.
Find out what happened, and how YOU can truly be happy.
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Watch for part two of this post coming up.
This blog was excerpted and adapted from Better Than You Feel.