Dear Church family,
VBS has been amazing this week! I’ve enjoyed seeing how Word of Life Chapel runs this ministry to kids and it has been my joy to be a part of it. I find myself telling everybody who asks me about the Church that I pastor, ‘I am so incredibly blessed to be a part of this Church family. They are amazing!’ I say that without naivety with the understanding that we aren’t perfect and possess problems, but of course so do I!
Nevertheless, this Church family knows how to serve cheerfully, and words fail me to adequately express that feeling of being a part of God’s Local Kingdom here at WOL Chapel. You all know how to serve so incredibly well, and that is a distinctive of what it means to be a Kingdom citizen following Christ’s rule.
Perhaps at this time, some of you are beginning to covet rest! I know that I wake up ever morning tired! It reminds me of this past weeks sermon on coveting and I would like to follow up with it because of how easily we forget former things that we learned.
Just for clarification, I want to emphasize how it’s normal to have desires for unfulfilled goals, which may lead to personal ambition and a great work ethic to accomplish that mission, whether it be material or personal or even spiritual.
Desiring that new car or a better family or a better body or more money aren’t wrong in and of themselves. We are people filled with desires. It’s the intensity of that desire that becomes supercharged with the misconception of “if I only had this, I would be happier” that makes it sin. It’s also the discontentment in Christ ALONE that makes our deepest desires sinful, covetous, and idolatrous.
It’s not always easy to discern when a passionate desire that you have for something becomes covetous. But in my heart, God has revealed to me that my greatest desires and loves in this life are always competing for first place with Jesus. It’s a sad reality, but it’s that old fleshly nature that is at battle with the Spirit of God. Like I mentioned on Sunday, I need to be constantly ‘on guard’ everyday as it is called ‘today’ so that I am not hardened by my worldly ambitions.
At the root of covetousness, it is worldliness (1 John 2:15-17) as I put too much stock in this world and not enough value in God’s Kingdom.
Speaking of God’s Kingdom, when you redirect your desires with a motivation for building up God’s Kingdom and glorifying God through them, that is one way to curb coveting ambition. Then, your desire is to use whatever thing or goal that you may crave for God’s Kingdom which would mean using it to share, to give, and to serve others for God’s glory through it.
And when you surrender your desires to God’s Kingdom, it means that you trust that God will rule in your life to accomplish whatever you want for His glory, even if that means He says ‘no.’ Yet His ‘no’ will bring you great joy as your contentment/satisfaction is in Him alone so that if you are in His will, His pleasure makes you abundantly happy over and against that unfulfilled desire because your greatest desire is fulfilled, following and submitting to His good plan!
For a practical understanding of how to put to death our ‘coveting,’ I think that Ephesians 4:22-24 gives great insight:
“22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”
Notice that our former manner of life, that is ‘our old self,’ comes to haunt us (because it’s actually dead in Christ!) through deceitful desires. That is why as you grow in spiritual maturity, it means learning to recognize a desire that you feel which isn’t in line with Who God is and how He has designed you & changed you. Coveting will be a deceitful desire as you feel so strongly that that unattained thing will make you happier if only you had it!
What’s the solution to our deceitful feelings?
V23-24 tells us to “be renewed in the spirit of your minds” and then to “put on” that reality (it takes a conscious decision and effort).
This means, the way to put to death coveting desires is to THINK! It comes through filling yourself with God’s Word, God’s Truth, and the truth about Jesus and how great He is! That’s the way that we do battle against our coveting desires: through our mind. Of course, the Word of God is ‘the sword of the Spirit’ and that is welded through our minds which then will affect our emotions and put to death those old wicked feelings that would feel as if God is not enough, and so I need this and I need that to make me happy.
It’s right thinking that will slaughter bad feelings.
I hope that helps. Keep on pressing on in this fight against our flesh, Church, and never give up!
I’m praying that we all grow in purity of heart and with a greater love for our King and His Kingdom!
In Christ our King, for Him,