Hey BCU family,
As usual, please enjoy the audio podcast (click on the icon below), the written transcript, or both! In either case, God bless you as you read, hear and apply the Word of God.
We prepped and started heart surgery last time, realizing we may harbor too many old and bad things in the heart/mind, and bad meditations get you in trouble! We saw that with the evil-thought/actioned Haman in Esther 3. We need to understand that many of the adverse thoughts the enemy brings are rooted in lust that is spoken of in I John 2:15-17, followed by some examples.
Do not love the world or anything in the world, if anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. For everything in the world, the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life, comes NOT from the Father, but from the world. The world and the lusts pass away, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
- lust of the eyes (Esau wanted Jacob’s stew and sold his birthright for it in Genesis 25:30-34).
- lust of the flesh (many of us know all about David & Bathsheba in 2 Samuel 11:1-4).
- and pride of life (besides Haman in Esther 3), King Herod who gave a speech, was lauded by the people, and the angel of the Lord smote him for not giving God the glory (Acts 12:21-23).
This is a fixed fight you know, and God wants us to be victorious over our heart meditations and gives us the Word in which to do it. Let’s go back to Romans 12:1 from a previous study. I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice holy, acceptable to God which is your reasonable service. Verse 2 says not to be conformed to the world but transformed by the renewing (ongoing) of your mind, that you may test or prove what is that good and acceptable perfect will of God. When we offer up our bodies, that includes the heart and mind. Acceptable means welcomed, well-pleasing and favorable. And we cannot present our bodies properly if the mind/heart isn’t right. Let’s talk about the lust of the eye.
*Since eyes are the windows to the soul, this lust tied to the soul and emotions. For the most part, every lust comes from a desire that is good. There is NOTHING wrong with desiring something—God gives us the desires of our heart when we delight ourselves in Him (Psalm 37:4). We desire to work, have things, work in a ministry, to be married—those are GOOD things. Where we have to be mindful is how the enemy can pervert good desires in your heart with thoughts that are contrary to how God commands us to think speak or act. When you start to covet, plot, scheme, start working overtime, missing church, saving your tithes and offering money, not paying your bills, all to get “things”, that’s where the lust comes in. Let’s look at 1 Kings 21:1-16.
The story is, Naboth had a vineyard that the king, Ahab wanted (or coveted) BADLY. Naboth refused and Ahab was so upset about it, he would not even eat. Queen Jezebel found out and devised a HEINOUS plot to lie on and have Naboth killed–and then told the king the vineyard was now his to have. Just.like.that. This couple did not care that an innocent man was killed, his family likely very devastated—it did not matter who they needed to step on to get what they wanted, so long as they got it.
Can this apply to us? Perhaps not to this extreme…but let’s think about it from a few angles. For my singles..wanting to get married because you “see” everyone else is in a relationship, so you go out of our way, or rather “out of God’s way” to make it happen. When you get Mr. or Ms. NotRightNow, things go great initially (that’s how the enemy does it), and then he lowers the BOOM and you have a crazoks on your hands! Let’s ask God to keep us content with what we have, and bless us with “extra” as He sees fit.
I Timothy 6:6-8 says, but godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world and it is certain that we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment, let us be content.
Or, think about the times you may have wanted something so badly you missed important date or responsibility just to get it. In my early saved days, I skipped paying a bill to get a pair of shoes. I cannot tell you where those shoes are, what they looked like or where they are today! I can tell you I had a hard time recouping that money to pay my bill. All because of wanting something someone else had/ wanting something SO bad. A covetous heart. A desire gone bad.
Okay, what about the lust of the eye/desire to “play.” The purpose is socializing; taking a break..maybe talking a bit at work, playing Candy crush or a binging on a movie marathon. We all like to relax the mind–and that is a good thing.
What happens when the scales start tipping to the lust of wanting more play than work? This is when chronic slothful/laziness creeps in. A Sunday off here, missing a study there, half-doing what you’ve been called to do, not tending house, not taking care of yourself, burying your talent, not calling a sister, sending a note of encouragement, or maybe witnessing—all because you don’t feel like it, not in the mood, need a break from the people, the chores, etc, or have gotten into the habit of a Lifetime Movie Marathon or the whatever your go-to play routine is. While we all need days to unplug, recharge and refresh, we are accountable for the time God gives us and we have way too much responsibility to practice slothfulness on the regular. With God’s grace, let’s ask for wisdom to know how to spend the time He gives us.
See then that you walk circumspectly not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time because the days are evil. Do not be unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is (Ephesians 5:15-17).
What about the desire to be safe? Keeping/knowing our loved ones are safe? Our jobs are safe, the bridge is safe, etc. We teach at work that feeling safe is a basic need—NOTHING wrong with that desire–in the right place. Where things go too far is when the emotion FEAR comes in. Fear can come on the form of cowardice, worry, panic, having irrational thoughts, making emotional decisions. Let’s not forget the unprofitable servant in Matthew 25 —the one who buried the talent? During accounting time, verse 25 says, the servant told his master he was AFRAID and went to hid his talent in the earth. The master called the servant wicked and slothful–and proceeded to cast him into outer darkness where there was weeping and gnashing of teeth.
A bit back, a dear friend and sister in Christ got a message in between Sunday School and morning service that a family member had not been heard from since the night before—not answering phones, etc. Notice how the enemy timed this attempt right before service. What I loved was that the sister said something like “God knows where he is and I am not going to worry about it.” We prayed and it turned out he was fine, thank God!! Sister did not let fear take over. Now, I realize that there are scary situations out there—no doubt. We want to ask God to cover, keep and sustain our hearts from fear.
And we know that God has NOT given is a spirit of fear, but of love, power and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).
What about grief? That’s an innate desire when we lose a loved one or friend. The emotion connected to that is sadness. Perfectly normal. Now hear me good, grieving, sad days, crying spells are normal as we miss a person—birthdays, holidays, special times…
Where the enemy gets heart-busy is when the grief is extended to the point where one cannot function and stay in a state of depression for years at a time. We talked about that in Ruth 1 as Naomi vocalized her grief (after losing her husband and two sons) by telling the folks to call her Mara meaning bitter—because the Lord had dealt bitterly with her. While she went though the grieving process,at some point the Lord blessed her to start adjusting to the “new normal”, and she was used to bring Boaz and Ruth together. If Naomi had stayed grieving, she would not have been functional as to what God called her to do–and look at the result! Boaz and Ruth became great-grandparents to king David and mentioned in the lineage of Christ in Matthew 1.
To every thing, there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1).
Once again, let’s start paying more attention to your thoughts/what’s in your heart. Ask God to show you (even if it’s painful), what areas need more attention or a purge. and ask for His help in overcoming them and creating a clean heart Psalm 51:10. Also, step up your gatekeeping of the heart as directed in Proverbs 4:23. Philippians 4:8 reminds us to think on true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy, think on THOSE things. I did not say not to talk to the Lord about what bothers you, we just want to take it there and LEAVE it there. Amen? Amen!
Join us next time as #SpeechTherapy continues with the lust of the flesh–you do not want to miss it! Thank you so much for stopping by/tuning in and until we meet again, #StayOnTheWall!
*See http://www.themoorings.org for a nifty chart and examples of lust gone awry!