“But each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.” James 1:14
Your strength is deficient. You are carelessly assembling the unkept pieces of your flesh, while you stumble to the irregular beat of your heart. You long to close your eyes once more, and sleep yourself into a coma so you don’t have to face the revolving world around you. Life would be easier if there was no one in your way. You attempt to get up and scramble to the door to veil your beastly tendencies. You don’t want to tally another day to the regret list, and you don’t want to apologize to another loved one for your alternative half. If only there was a “pause” button, or better yet a “reset” lever that you can crash into when the room begins to spin.
Yesterday was a thrill, but today it’s dark and fatalistic. You ask yourself “why do I feel like this”? Your reasoning creeps in and convinces you that other people are to blame for your pity. “If only they didn’t do that . . . “, “If only they would have listened to me . . .”, “If only they had a brain . . .” You become critical and offended by those who draw near to you.
Have you ever felt like this before? Is there something in this world that you have depended on for happiness? An impression of temporary joy that sooner or later leads to a fallen darkness. It’s what the enemy uses to bewilder you, to disinform you about your loved ones, to detain your heart captive, to overcast your vision and to keep you enslaved to a life of dependency on him.
This aftermath begins with a temptation. The enemy dangles a shiny diamond on the end of a rod and whispers sweet assurances in your ears. In those moments you have a choice to trust your own judgement or to lean on His. You either choose to “trust in Him with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding” Proverbs 3:5-6, or you conclude you have it all figured out. After all, what harm can this temporary relief do to you?
The truth is, when we are faced with temptation, it is an opportunity to stitch up a wounded heart and to lean on Jesus for healing. We can find grace in our vulnerabilities, and in our most difficult moments if we allow Him in.
I confess . . . I am a recovering addict. I am an enthusiastic devotee of a thing. That thing has a way over me. It makes me sick after a while. It temporarily satisfies my cravings and it seduces a flawed relationship. It keeps me distracted and inactive.
What am I addicted to?
I am addicted to idolatry. Idolatry is an extreme admiration for something other than God. No matter how hard I try to shake the habit, it disintegrates deep in the tissues of my flesh. My obsessions include Pride, Money, Possessions, and Family. Yes Family can be an idolatry (I’ll explain more).
I live with an expectation. An expectation to be loved, to be wanted, to be successful, to be respected, and to have power. Who am I to breathe with an expectancy? Why do I put myself on a pedestal? When I do this, I create an unconscious desire to be preferable to others. When I live like this, I take offense to many things in the world. Jesus was misunderstood and unappreciated, so what makes me think I won’t be?
I am prideful in the flesh. Proud of my accomplishments, my job, my kids, and my abilities. Pride insists that I should be applauded for what I have done.
It’s okay to feel good about yourself as long as all the glory goes to Him. You don’t have to boast about it. Your walk is enough. If you humble yourself, God will exalt you at the right time. 1 Peter 5-6.
It is so much more richer to give than to receive, but we are a culture that hoards our money. I depended on money to make me happy all my life. I thought if I could keep making more money, I could provide more for my family and I would be happy. But the more money I made, the more problems I had. I’m still haunted by my money making days. The IRS won’t leave me alone. My days are often a battle with money and finances. When the enemy attacks, he often attacks by influencing me to spend what I don’t have and to become a slave to the lender. And I cherish the money so much, that I allow myself to get upset and turn ugly in the debt.
I adore money in the flesh. Money is a product of man, and Jesus makes it clear that you cannot serve God AND money.
The more money I have the more material I buy; the more material I buy, the more stressed out I become. The possession crisis originates with a persuasive desire to consume what someone else has. Be careful of desire. Desire can entice you to do manipulative things to get what you want. It urges you to move beyond God’s provisions (like using credit cards). Desire approaches with an attitude that we don’t have enough. It progresses with an expectation that we deserve to be satisfied. All bad things start from a desire.
I covet possessions in the flesh. When you refer back to Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:6, Eve desires the fruit “to make her wise and to rise above to achieve new possibilities of life” — that is the core temptation. It is the desire to upstage oneself to rise above. This act is Eve’s refusal to accept the limitations of herself. This is the desire.
This is going to strike close to home, but even family can become an idol. It’s not what you do selfishly for yourself and your own, but what you do for Christ that matters. We have excuses like, “I have to work a-lot so that I can provide and support the family.” “I have to make sure my kids have as much as the kids next door.” “I need to not serve this weekend because my wife wants to spend quality time.” Marriages are important but it should never take precedence over God. To sincerely take care of your family, you must ensure they can exhibit what they have finished for His kingdom, and demonstrate how they used their resources and talents for His glory at the gates of heaven.
Do you think your family is ready to answer this question?
Do you think if you mind your own business and take care of your own, God is going to say “well done”?
If you genuinely love your family, you will keep them focused on God so that they have access to eternity.
Francis Chan, a well know American Preacher, Founder of Eternity Bible College and the author of best selling book, Crazy Love, challenges the churches today. “Chan reveals a phenomenon he sees in the American church where married couples and parents choose to protect and focus on their own families and forsake the mission of God.”
Chan says “we should not focus on the family, we should have the family focus. Family can quickly become an idol when we focus too much on it. If we are focused on the mission and the kingdom, that’s when our families are actually the best.”
“If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?” Matthew 5:46
“I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife, and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 7:32-35
My idolatry for my family is in no doubt my biggest addiction. I get tripped up on this all the time. My home is my first ministry, but it doesn’t STOP at my home. It STARTS there AND then it expands outwards.
So I am a recovering addict. I have made a decision to break the habit, but I still wake up with the chase every morning. And I often relapse. But this woman will keep fighting the good fight, because if she can learn how to live in/for Jesus, she can break the addiction that curses her generation ahead.
I choose to die everyday, so that I may truly live.
“For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.” Matthew 10:39
“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23
“Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it.” Luke 17:33
“For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” Romans 8:13
“Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” Colossians 3:5
How many of you would say that you have died to yourself? Have you denied yours and your family’s comforts for the sake of others? Dare to live?
Check out Francis Chan: Stop Idolizing Your Familyhttps://churchleaders.com/pastors/videos-for-pastors/275963-francis-chan-a-challenge-to-the-church.html