Psalm 97:11-12 (NLT)
Light shines on the godly and joy on those whose hearts are right. May all who are godly rejoice in the Lord and praise his holy name!
I know that God loves me. I know that He is good. I know that He is not only mindful of me but set in His Way to bless and prosper my life. But just like everyone else, there are times when I allow my wants to overshadow the fact that I am blessed. I allow my selfish desires to chase away satisfaction and I permit discontentment to begin to sour my spirit. It happens to the best of us in a moment. After working a long week, rushing through the grocery store for the next week’s haul, picking up the youngest from school, swinging by the house to put away groceries, and begin cleaning the house, it was time to take our daughter to a friend’s birthday party. I admit that I was tired and a bit overwhelmed by my to-do list. Our neighbors had built a new home in a beautiful neighborhood of large lots and sprawling oaks. As I pulled into the driveway, it is gorgeous craftsman. She invited me in for a quick tour before the party as I had not yet seen their new abode. It was perfect. From the ceiling to the floor, absolutely perfect. I didn’t realize it at that moment, but as we left the neighborhood I began to notice for sale signs throughout. The thought then entered my head how I would love to sell our house and move out there. It’s funny because that morning as I pulled out of the driveway to head off to work, I remember looking lovingly at our home thinking just how perfect it was. How thankful I was! What changed in an instant? How could I have gone from thankfulness to discontentment so fast? I was in a foul mood by the time my husband got home and I began to complain. I do not share this with you because I am proud of it at all. I am sharing it with you because many time people struggle with dissatisfaction and discontentment that leads us from the Light of His Love into the darkness of worry, anxiety, envy, bitterness, frustration, disgust, and overall discouragement. I want to encourage others today as I encourage myself. Lord, forgive me for looking away from the Light even for a moment.
Light shines on the godly and joy on those whose hearts are right. After I was done being mad and grumbling to the Lord, I could sense a quickening in my spirit. As if to ask, “what are you willing to give up to have what these people have”? Will you stop serving me? Will you stop tithing? Will you go into debt? Will you find another job or two? I cannot serve two masters. I must make a choice. The Light of His Love is amazing. But that does not change the fact that darkness still will try to take its place. We have complete control over what we see in this life. There are days that we need to flood our hearts and lives with a little more light to overshadow the darkness that prevails. I have a reason to rejoice today. I have been given a brand new life with great potential. To have the things of this world would require pursing this world rather than trusting the Lord.
Matthew 6:21-23 (NLT)
“Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. But when your eye is bad, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!”
Having “things” is not bad. Desiring certain things in life is not bad. It is all about what we treasure most in our heart that is important. Wherever your treasure is. My treasure is in my home but it is not the structure in which we live. It is in the people who I share my life with. It is the Spirit of God that lives in this place because we choose to honor Him with our life. Our home is a peaceful place filled with faith, hope and love. It is our Heaven on earth and place we run to when we need sanctuary and rest from the crazy chaos called life. I know that. But when I begin to look around at what others have comparing it to what I have it becomes a problem. Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” I absolutely agree. My experience in my friend’s home is only an illustration of the danger of losing our joy in the midst of comparison.
My eye is the lamp that provides light to my body. Each day on my way to work, I drive past several new and used car lots. I drive a well-loved, well-driven Suburban that once hauled a load of kids all over God’s green earth. Most days, it is just me and the Beast. She has been a faithful automobile despite my attempt to drive her wheels off and almost did at one point. I have experience many joys heading off on vacation with a truck full of laughing kids, as well as shed tears of devastation back and forth from our son’s treatments. Would I like a newer and smaller car? Yes. When I dare look intently to the right or left on my way to work, I have actually found myself looking online at my options. The bottom line is that I do not want a car payment. I do not believe that God wants me to go into to debt. When I catch myself doing this, I will make it a point to stop window shopping with my eyes. This applies to every other area of our life as well. We must be in control of what we see. This does not only apply to “things” but everything. What does it profit a man to gain the whole world but lose his soul? Be careful. It will come to that some days. We must be keepers of the Light.
John 8:12 (NLT)
Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”
Jesus Christ is the Light of the world. But how can I walk in the Light when I cannot even see Him? Good question! He is the Light that leads to life. I want a good life. He came and died so that we could have abundant and everlasting life which means both now and forever. The only thing in question is our soul. If the things in this life we want will somehow, someway or someday compromise our soul, what do you think the Lord will do? He is not going to give us anything that weighs us down, causes a burden or makes us stumble because the bottom line is our salvation. So if I want to have other “things”, He must become the ONE THING that I desire most meaning if nothing else changes or is added to my life – Jesus will always be enough.
John 1:14 (NLT)
So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.
They say that just five minutes can make a suicidal person change their mind and choose life. I guess like most things in our life – it is all about endurance. Enduring the moment that we decide to give up so that it does not become a failure. It’s tough because this world presents us with so many options other than living an abundant life. We are given the ease of substitution which gives us the opportunity to have immediate gratification but will never result in full satisfaction. There are many counterfeits that can fill a void temporarily but will not lead to contentment, peace and joy. If we take that five minutes of dissatisfaction and discontentment and committed them to the Word, what would happen? Jesus is the Word wrapped in flesh. Every promise that God ever made us is in Him. He is how we can have exactly what God has already provided in our life. We must allow the Light to overcome the darkness lurking in our hearts. Even that shadow that is so deep we do not see it until the ugliness of it is too evident to ignore. The Lord My God will light up every dark space in my life. He will be a lamp for me. (Psalm 18:28)
Psalm 43:3-4 (NLT)
Send out your light and your truth; let them guide me. Let them lead me to your holy mountain, to the place where you live. There I will go to the altar of God, to God—the source of all my joy. I will praise you with my harp, O God, my God!
I am ashamed of myself for falling into the comparison trap when I know better. I am not usually given to that kind of behavior. It is most likely that when we do not think we have a problem in a certain area that the Lord graciously points out the hidden darkness in our heart so He can shine some Light on it. We are blessed. I am blessed personally, professionally and most importantly spiritually. The only way that the enemy can detour me from the Plan of God to prosper me fully is to somehow persuade me that there is life outside of Jesus and that it is better than living for Him. When facing this challenge, the answer is always the Light of His Love. It is perfectly okay to ask the Lord to “send out Your Light and Your Truth to guide me.” All Jesus wants to do in the course of each day, moment by moment and breath by breath is blind you with His Love so that darkness never distracts you again. Choose the Light today. Feeling discontent – start thanking God for every single good thing in your life. It will change your perspective. Feeling dissatisfied – evaluate the things you are doing for the Lord and the choices you are making to decide if there is anything you are willing to give up to have what the world is offering you. The more you focus on the Light of His Love, the less enamoring and enticing the world and its darkness becomes. Joy and peace will flood your heart as praise takes the place of complaining and thankfulness reveals just how blessed you really are…at least that what happens to me.
Psalm 36:7-9 (NLT)
How precious is your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings. You feed them from the abundance of your own house, letting them drink from your river of delights. For you are the fountain of life, the light by which we see.