Putting God's Word into Practice…

Are You Lifting Your Soul to What is False or to God?

Subtle lies have been seeping into my mind and slowly altering my emotions and actions over the past several weeks.  “I’m not good enough,” “I’m not thin enough,” I don’t measure up,” “I don’t have anything to offer,” “No one likes me,” “I’m failing as a mom,” “My clothes are outdated and too tight,” “My house is too small and not decorated nicely,” etc…  Instead of taking the time to correct the lies with truth and turn to the Lord for forgiveness, comfort and peace, I’ve been walking in discontentment, condemnation and shame by listening to the accusations of the Enemy.

Before I started my quiet time with the Lord, I finally humbled myself and asked for help to change and overcome these lies.  I started reading Psalm 24 (because it was Dec. 24).  Who shall ascend to the hill of the LORD? Who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, WHO DOES NOT LIFT UP HIS SOUL TO WHAT IS FALSE and does not swear deceitfully. (vs. 3-4)  I thought, “Yes! That’s me!  I’ve been lifting my soul up to what is false.”  When I studied this phrase deeper, the word “idols” replaced “what is false.”  Ouch!  All along I thought I was the victim, when in fact I was making myself no more than a shiny gold statue!  Fixating on my image, my reputation, my happiness is idolatry–life is all about me!  No matter how much I shine myself up, I will never be God and I will never be worthy of worship.

The worst part is that this lie-based idolatry was keeping me from God’s presence.  I couldn’t be near to Him.  If I truly desire to be in God’s presence, I’ll do whatever it takes to seek Him and His face.  I will replace lies with truth.  I will fix my eyes on the Lord and not on me.  I will look for ways to love others instead of trying to love myself more.

Matthew Henry wrote this about those who can be in God’s presence:  “They are such that do not set their affections upon the things of this world…whose hearts are not carried out inordinately towards the wealth of this world, the praise of men, or the delights of sense, who do not choose these things for their portion, nor reach after them, because they believe them to be vanity, uncertain and unsatisfying.”  Chasing after physical beauty, financial stability, material possessions, personal glory is like chasing the wind.  They will all fade; they will never be enough.  The Lord is my chosen portion (Psalm 16:5a).  He is always enough.  He truly satisfies.

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Psalm 17 Eternal Satisfaction vs. Temporary Portion

From June 17-June 30 we were on vacation.  During this time, I took a break from reading through the New Testament to focus on some Psalms.  I read through the Psalm that corresponded with the daily date–i.e. chapters 17-30.  Having quiet time with the Lord like this was very personal and refreshing.

Deliver my soul from…men of this world whose portion is in this life. (Psalm 17:13b/14b)

Before we left on this trip I was really struggling with discontentment…feeling like we never had enough financial/material possessions.  I was focusing on our needs instead of petitioning the Need Provider.  I was focusing on what others have–things that seem average or normal in the world–that I don’t have.  I had deceived myself into thinking that my life should look like “everyone else’s,” that I was entitled to certain possessions, and that life should be fair!

Something about the wording of this verse reminded me that this world and the things of this world are temporary–their portion is only in this life.  They are earthly rewards that will melt away.  It is vain to chase after, to envy over “things.”  It’s not just vain–it’s sin.

This chapter ends with a beautiful reminder:  Because I am righteous, I WILL see You. When I awake, I WILL see you face-to-face and be satisfied!  I am righteous because I have trusted in Jesus’ blood to wash away my sins and let His righteousness be wrapped around my life.  Therefore, I WILL SEE HIM!  He is my portion!  In His presence there is fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore! (Psalm 16:11)

Eternal satisfaction > temporary portion

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1 Timothy 6:3-10 The Riches of Contentment

This is one of the most concentrated teachings on contentment in all of the Bible.

“But godliness with contentment is great gain.”

There are untold, immeasurable, unfathomable riches in being content!  Looking at life through the lens of contentment changes everything!  We feel no lack!  Am I content with what I have?  Is having food and clothing enough for me?  Am I not only content but grateful?  Are the things I feel like I’m missing really necessary?  Do I really believe that by wanting and having more, I actually have less?

Did you know that the average family walks away from college with a degree and $50,000 in debt?  Or that the average credit card debt per person over 18 in the United States is $7,000 (in a marriage, that means $14,000)?   Divorce.com cited “financial problems” as the number one reason for divorce in America.  Discontentment is taking a huge toll on our families!

Paul wrote that contentment keeps us from several things:

  • Falling into temptation.  When we are content with our “daily bread” we are kept from temptation to want more and more and more and more (Matthew 6:9-13).  It also keeps us from the temptation to be prideful (Proverbs 30:8-9).
  • Being ensnared by our foolish and harmful desires.  Doesn’t carrying the weight of discontentment and the baggage of doing anything to get what we want feel like we have our lives in a giant trap sometimes?
  • Plunging into ruin and destruction.  Proverbs 11:28 says, “Whoever trusts in riches will fall.”  It might be those relationships that are sacrificed on the alter of greed and discontentment.
  • Wandering from the faith.  Our pursuit of earthly, temporal gain steals our affections from the Lord.  We cannot love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind and strength while simultaneously loving money.  Discontentment distracts us from what we really believe to be true.  (Matthew 6:24)
  • Pierced with many sorrows.  Anyone who is chasing wealth and possessions knows all too well the sorrows that pierce their own hearts.

Is money evil? NO!  But the love of money is.  The love of money may look differently in each of us.  For me it has been a mind dominated by calculating and covering financial imbalances.  For others it might be working hard at the expense of your family to get what everyone wants.  It might be as simple as spending time daydreaming about winning the lottery.

1 Timothy 6:10a “For the love of money is a root of al kinds of evils.”

Hebrews 13:5 “Keep your life free from the love of money, and be content with what you have, for he (God) has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’.”

Is God enough?  Am I content to have Him?  Am I content with what He has given to me?  Discontentment says that God is not good and that He is not enough.

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