This is supposed to be a time of giving, isn’t it? Why then does my heart just begin to erupt with a nagging desire for things. It’s not even stuff I need or really, really want. It’s just a gut-wrenching “You would be most happy if you had…” or, “Wouldn’t your life be so much easier if you had…?” Do you have similar thoughts? How do you battle with this.
Here are some things I begin to do with great and purposeful intentionality:
1. Stop your heart. No, I don’t mean physically. I mean, I literally say to my soul, “Stop!” This is not some legalistic, just-try-harder thing, it simply is what Paul says in 2Corinthians 10:5, “…take every thought captive…” Here’s our “way of escape” (1Corinthians 10:13) and somehow we miss it. Don’t miss it–stop it!
2. Start your heart. Here’s where I begin to start my heart: the goodness and grace of God in Christ. Begin a list and keep adding to it. Christ has given me life itself. I breathe. That is simply because God is gracious. But there’s more–oh, so much more. He has given me grace, mercy, righteousness, peace, adoption as an adult son, I’m an heir with Christ, grace, and did I mention grace? This is just a start–begin a list and check it every day! Keep it vertical–Christ focused.
3. Renew your heart. Here’s the other important part–the horizontal relationships that God has given. I begin with Cindy, my wife. Oh, my, God’s goodness and grace really begins to overflow as I think of how good God has been to give me her! Then I think of my three children and now their spouses–all very dear people to me–my favorite in the world. Then, so far, three grandchildren. I can’t resist thinking about my extended family of my brothers, who are very dear to me, my dad, my in-laws, and just as I am about to burst, I think of my family in Christ. The covetous thoughts really begin to slither away by God’s good kindness.
This takes practice. The thing I like most is the worship that comes out of this as I think of what I really deserve. So much of life hovers around our view of God vs. our view of ourselves. Sin always takes root when we think more highly of ourselves than we ought. Only God is God and He alone is our satisfaction!
So, stop; start; and renew!
Have a very Merry Christmas!