Warning. I’m going to ramble today. I’m not sure where my thoughts are headed, but I know God wants me to explore them.
Over the last few years, I’ve grown increasingly uncomfortable over not only the excess of our culture, but also the excess in my own life.
Some of the signs of my personal excess? Jeans a bit too tight, spoiling food in the fridge, and caffeine addiction. Empty rooms in the house, but no empty hangers in the closet.
The contemplation escalated when my husband set a tentative retirement date. We began talking more about the details. Where will we live? How much money will be required for our twilight years? What kind of house do we “need?”
The conversations with my husband sparked additional thoughts. How much is enough? How do we define “need?” How much should we keep and how much should we give?
Same message of “excess” from different directions
God has repeatedly called the issue to my attention. About a month ago, I saw Mike Huckabee interview Francis Chan. The pastor talked honestly about his own journey to downsize his family’s life. To make room for others and their needs.
Last week the ladies Bible study coordinator at church handed me a copy of “The 7 Experiment” by Jen Hatmaker to review for possible use. I knew immediately it wasn’t a coincidence. Here’s the description on the back of the book:
Fight back against overindulgence, materialism, and greed by joining Jen Hatmaker in “The 7 Experiment.” This 9-session Bible study will teach you how to stage a mutiny against excess in seven critical areas of life. Food. Clothes. Possessions. Media. Waste. Spending. Stress. Come honest and ready to untangle the clutter in your life. Discover how temporarily disengaging from excess can allow God’s heart to break through your stuff and open your eyes to the things that really matter.
Hmm. I think she’s got something. “Stuff” can easily get in the way of real, spiritual substance.
Warning about excess from God’s Word too
This morning I read this from the pen of Peter:
As we know Jesus better, His divine power gives us everything we need for living a godly life. He has called us to receive His own glory and goodness. And by that same mighty power, He has given us all of His rich and wonderful promises. He has promised that you will escape the decadence all around you caused by evil desires and that you will share in His divine nature. So make every effort to apply the benefits of these promises to your life.
2 Peter 1:3-5a, NLT
God calls us to lives of holiness through a growing knowledge of Christ. But the “decadence” or “corruption” of the world can easily get in the way. Our desire for physical things enslaves us. It holds our thoughts, time, and energy captive. The craving for “more” feeds the diseased condition of our souls like sugar feeds yeast.
At the least, the clutter of “excess” distracts us from doggedly pursuing the things of God. But the potential for much worse crouches near. Ignoring those in need.
I don’t know where this exploration is headed. I long to want to follow wherever God leads. Will it be a physical reduction of the material things in my life? Perhaps. Will it include purposefully seeking out those in need? Likely. But, I’m not sure yet of all the ramifications.
Let’s talk about this today:
- Have you had any of the same thoughts?
- Do you see excess in your own life?
- How does our materialistic culture affect our faith?
- And most importantly, what do we need to do about it?