Today begins my rebellion. I have been complacent too long. I’ve bought into the messages of our culture. Those not so subtle teachings that we really do need more stuff, bigger houses, larger plates to fill.
But in recent months God has been pointing out some areas of excess in my own life and showing me truth in His Word. (I wrote a bit more about this in an earlier blog post.) I’m not sure where it’s all headed, but the first step along the journey is to examine my life more closely in the light of God’s Word.
The 7 Experiment
This week I’m starting the study “The 7 Experiment” by Jen Hatmaker. She’s way ahead of me on this journey. God called her to fight back against our culture of excess by fasting in 7 critical areas over 7 months: Food, clothes, possessions, media, waste, spending, and stress. Her study covers them in 7 weeks, plus an intro and wrap-up. Each week, Hatmaker calls readers to “fast” from excess in that area.
You’re invited to join me as I work my way through this study. Two options: 1)You can get a copy of her book for yourself and do the complete study; or 2) You can do an abbreviated version with me here on this blog. I will post about my journey each Thursday, starting July 11.
Each Thursday I will:
- Introduce the area of excess
- See what God’s Word says about it
- Tell you what God has asked me to do for the week
- Challenge you to take part
The Tyranny of Things
When God wants to make sure we get something, He usually shows us the same truth repeatedly from multiple directions. In addition to starting “The 7 Experiment” this week, I’ve been reading A.W. Tozer’s book “The Pursuit of God.” In the second chapter, “The Blessedness of Possessing Nothing,” Tozer elaborates on how our pursuit of “things” can easily replace our pursuit of God.
God gave us endless gifts in this life to enjoy. But our fallen human nature tends to exalt those things over the God who gave them to us. We allow them to push God off His rightful throne in our hearts and sit there to rule. The list of possible rulers is endless: things, relationships, power, position, money, entertainment, and more. But the result is the same. We pursue things over God and in the end our possessions possess us. Tozer calls this the “tyranny of things.”
“The roots of our hearts have grown down into things, and we dare not pull up one rootlet lest we die. Things have become necessary to us, a development never originally intended. God’s gifts now take the place of God, and the whole course of nature is upset by the monstrous substitution.”
God’s Word on Excess
The Bible has a lot to say about the dangers of plenty. When Israel was about to enter the Promised Land, Moses warned them about the danger of living with no material need.
Read Deuteronomy 8:6-19. What is the primary danger to our souls?
No matter how much we have in this life, it will never be enough to buy our salvation or redeem our soul (Psalm 49:7-8). So why do we run after things so hard? We only end up materially rich and soul poor.
Read Matthew 16:24-26. What did Jesus say about this?
This week’s challenge
My personal goal for this journey is to take “things” off the throne of my heart and put God back where He belongs. Will you join me? If so, here’s my challenge for you before Thursday (I will be doing the same things):
- Pray about the condition of your heart when it comes to excess and stuff.
- Evaluate your motivation for “fasting” from excess. Is it for obedience and worship?
- If God has revealed you have a problem with excess and you are ready to allow Him to change your heart, commit to this journey with me.
What do you think? Do you think many Christians struggle with excess? What about you? Is there a specific area of weakness for you? Let me know if you plan to journey with me over the coming weeks.