Tuesday, February 9, 2016

the subtle difference

We read the February 9 selection from A Year with C.S. Lewis today. It is available as an e-book from bn.com for $2.99 if you'd like to follow along.

Lewis tells us, by way of Screwtape, that it is important for us to not use God and our faith as a means to some other end. Another way of putting this is, if we seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, all other things will be added to us. But if we seek first those other things, especially if we try to use God or our faith to get them, then we will lose it all.

The difference can be subtle. Because God has given us our desire for these other things, in most cases. The "other things" usually include relationships, good jobs, health, and happiness. Sometimes, we get a skewed idea of what will make us happy... and we think we need to buy a Mercedes or live in a mansion in order to be happy. And in that case, our desire might be a little out of order with God's calling. (Not that driving a Mercedes or living in a mansion is inherently wrong - but you see the subtlety even here, right? Seeking happiness by having things won't make you happy.)

But the difference comes when we find ourselves having to wait. Waiting is one of the best things we do in life, and can be one of the most unpleasant. If we are truly seeking Him and His kingdom and righteousness, then if we have to wait for the other things we desire, we can wait patiently, trusting Him to bring them to us in the right time. If we start getting angry at Him for not bringing us the other things right now, then we've gotten our priorities messed up - we're trying to use God to get the other thing.

Now, don't beat yourself up if you find yourself doing this. We are human, after all, and we make mistakes. But this is a good opportunity for all of us to examine our thinking in regard to our possessions and our relationships. And wouldn't you know it... it happens to be lent (starting tomorrow), a great time to reexamine priorities and get things straight... to seek the kingdom and righteousness that is embodied in the resurrection, which we'll be celebrating when Easter gets here.

So let's look at our motives, our desires, our hearts. Let's find what's keeping us from coming to Him before all else. Let's cast those things aside, and get ready for His presence to overwhelm us this Easter, bringing with Him "all of these things that are added unto us."

God, thank You for helping us straighten out our priorities.


HappyGrama said...

Jeff, I think this is one of the biggest struggles for most people--being patient, trusting God's wisdom, and then accepting--eventually finding joy-in things as they are. I cycled in and out of the ability to do that for many years. I worked harder to bring God into every part of my life.

julie reedy said...

God help me to seek you 1st in everything!

Lance Hutchins said...

Good stuff.