Chasing After Wind
Are you content with what you have and are you resting in the Lord? Or are you striving for more and feeling turmoil in your spirit?
“Better one handful with tranquility than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind.” (Ecclesiastes 4:6 NIV)
Let’s get some perspective on what it is we are seeking and what drives us to be discontented. We must face the fact that we really do get into the flesh. It is called being “carnally minded.” The desire for so much materialism can rob us of our peace and can empty out our financial resources. We tend to strive to keep up with the neighbors or feed off every ad that we see or read. It is the “I gotta have it” syndrome.
We can get so caught up and consumed by the first thing we see that we are not looking for the best buy. We lack the fruit of the Spirit called patience.
And don’t think materialism is just a problem for women. Men can get just as easily distracted at big sales for recreational items and automobiles. We are all guilty of lusting for more.
Is there a way of escaping this dilemma? Yes, help is on the way. Jesus has a plan to help us: to exercise self-control and to be wise in our financial decisions.
We must not chase after material things because it is like chasing the wind. We are running, yet we are never satisfied. You will find yourself caught up in a whirlwind all the time.
Last year I eliminated my debt and got rid of my credit cards. I have learned to live without them. I had to put my mind to it and discipline myself with my finances. It was worth it!
Whether it is our eating habits, our exercise habits, or our spiritual habits of reading the Bible, praying, and attending church, we must take the time and effort to work on these areas.
The point is that we all need to find out what is important in life and then learn to use some self-control.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23 NASB)
I thought I could not make it without charging. Now if I really want to purchase or need a more costly item, I save a little at a time. Then when there are sales, I take the time to find the best bargain. I had a small, older TV, so I saved the money and got a new and bigger one in the mid-price range. The Lord certainly provided.
Matthew 6:19-21 speaks of our treasures in heaven:
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (NIV)
It isn’t wrong to buy nice things but is wrong to be consumed by them. If they take up all of our time and focus, then we need to remind ourselves that we need self-control.
“So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. (Galatians 5:16 NIV)
That is the key for us. We need to walk after spiritual things and to desire them more than the things of this world!
Lessons from a Superhero
By: Ryan Duncan, crosswalk.com
“And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14 NAS
Who is your favorite superhero? If you asked me, the answer would be Aquaman. Most people might find this surprising since, let’s face it; Aquaman has never been that popular of a superhero. He doesn’t strike fear into the heart of evil, like Batman, or block bullets like Wonder Woman. Heck, even most sidekicks are able to fly, but Aquaman needs to hail a seahorse to get anywhere.
For me though, that’s why I like him. Whenever Aquaman fights, he’s always at a disadvantage. His ocean powers never help him on the land, but despite that he still fights the bad guys and wins. It’s easy to be brave or strong when you have the home field advantage, but what happens when the tables are turned and you find yourself in enemy territory?
This all sounds pretty corny, I know, but things like this remind me of what Jesus faced when he became a man. We Christians are quick to quote Jesus’ death on the cross, the sacrifice he made so that we could be forgiven, but sometimes I think we forget about his life. We forget the miracle that occurred when a Holy God chose to step into a world overrun by sin.
Can we even begin to imagine what it must have been like for the all-knowing, all-powerful God of the universe to become a human? To understand the indignity of stubbing a toe or skinning a knee, the frustration of being confined to a small desert when the whole universe could not contain him, the humility required to endure hunger and thirst? Meanwhile, the devil stood in the background promising release, offering to make everything the way it was if Jesus would only pay a small, insignificant price.
I think C.S. Lewis says it best in Mere Christianity when he writes,
“Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is…. We never find out the strength of the evil impulse inside us until we try to fight it: and Christ, because He was the only man who never yielded to temptation, is also the only man who knows to the full what temptation means—the only complete realist.”
Jesus greatest triumph was His death and resurrection, there can be no mistake. Yet every day he lived, he battled the temptations of lust, envy, greed, pride and triumphed over them. So this December I encourage you to read the Christmas story and remember the miracle of Jesus’ birth. Remember that our Heavenly Father became a small baby so that we might one day live in eternity with him. Remember that Christ lived as a man, was tempted as we were, and has defeated sin.
We are His, and He is ours.
“When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me.” – John 15:26 NASB
Benjamin Beddome was born in 1717 in central England. His father was a minister, but Benjamin trained to be a surgeon before receiving his own call to ministry.
Also an author, he developed the habit of writing a hymn each week to be sung after his Sunday sermon. While not originally seeking a wider audience for these hymns, eventually he allowed some to be published.
One hymn, “Come, Holy Spirit,” described how much believers need the Spirit to live a victorious Christian life. His prayer was that the Spirit would come “with energy divine” and shine with mercy on his soul.
Even though he loved God, Beddome had seen how easily he could become cold and be consumed by the passions of the flesh. He depended on the Spirit for help. “O melt this frozen heart; this stubborn will subdue; each evil passion overcome, and form me all anew!”
As the Spirit moved in his life, he knew he would be changed. He promised to remember to give Him the praise. Powered by the Spirit, he pledged to “devote the remnant of my days” to serving the Father.
Today, realize that the Father sent the Holy Spirit to help you. You are not alone. You can call on His supernatural power anytime. He is ready to guide you, teach you, warn you, and give you power and wisdom. Call on Him right now!
Have you ever wondered about the less familiar names in the Bible? Many people are mentioned just once—often in a genealogy and identified only as “the father of …” But one lesser-known father is mentioned 11 times in the Gospels and always in association with his sons. His name is Zebedee, and he’s the father of two of Christ’s disciples.
All we know is that he was a fisherman in Galilee, the father of James and John, and the husband of Salome (Matt. 27:56; Mark 15:40). Although there is no mention of Zebedee following Jesus, perhaps his influence is seen in the fact that his sons and his wife loved their Messiah and were faithful to Him (Matt. 20:20).
Zebedee accomplished what every Christian father should aspire to achieve—he raised his children to follow Christ. What greater joy could we have than to see our sons and daughters walking with Jesus, not just in the early years but even after they grow up and leave home?
The key to this kind of influence is the example we set for our family. No matter what we say, it’s our actions that reveal who we really are and what we truly believe. When we’re fully committed to Christ in daily life, our children will see—and hopefully they will long to follow Him, as we have.