Thursday, March 10, 2016

the ten: property vs. provision (part 10)

"You shall not steal." (Exodus 20:15)

Have you considered the benefits of your own plasma (red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets) that are circulating in your vascular system to ward off disease while continuously pumping through a four chambered muscle sitting in the middle of your chest? Have you given any time to appreciate the coral reefs that offer a critical habitat for a wide variety of fish and marine invertebrates while protecting shore lines against erosion and harsh waves. How about the necessity of water - a colorless, orderless compound of hydrogen and oxygen that covers about three quarters of our planet's surface and circulates through our atmosphere so that all life receives nourishment? Or, what about the pollination of plants in cooperation with wind and insects? Have you considered that this very moment our sun is stationed 93 million miles away from earth and sports a diameter of approximately 864,000 miles, which is equal to about 109 earth's? Have you appreciated that every day God's hand oversees the rotation and warmth of the sun while insuring that it's light travels to our planet as fast as 8 minutes 19 seconds. The energy from sunlight supports us all via photosynthesis (go ahead, I dare you to look up how important photosynthesis is), and drives climate and weather conditions to stay "just so" on our little planet. Clearly all these things hold an enormous impact on our lives each and every day. And God chose to make them. He chose to make everything... including us. Why? Because God deserves glory and wished to share Himself with a people He would love over anything or anyone else. Wow!

God is indeed our provider and protector! But as a sinful people, we are self centered and dense. Just about every second, we forget the infinite number of ways that God oversees our existence to insure that we are taken care of. Instead, we habitually listen to an enemy that has made nothing and has done nothing for the sake of our survival. Yet, rather than consider all the wonderful things God continues to do, we listen to Satan's lies and become desperate with what we think we need and don't have. This mistrust in our Creator causes us to become worried and unsatisfied... decisions that do not support our Master's perfect plan to give us a full, abundant life.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11)

The eighth commandment boils down to us trying to take ownership of what doesn't belong to us. It is a selfish sin that causes us to attempt to supply for ourselves in a dishonest way rather than trust God to provide for all our needs. Through this command, the Lord was promising Israel (and us) that He was committed to always take care of us. Even more important, we must understand that He wants to take care of us. Why? Because He loves us. To live healthy, we must trust that. God has pledged His devotion to us to satisfy and supply for our needs.

Stealing is our desire to find instant happiness. It is a counterfeit form of security that is coupled with a sinful thrill that makes us think we have gotten away with something in our own way, rather than in God's prescribed way. In truth, however, it is really an act of defiance that favors self over the Creator. But here is the thing, whether we accept it or not - we do not own anything. It is ALL God's. We do not even own ourselves. He is in control of our existence. So, when we steal and think we are sneaky to deceive and gain from another's loss - in truth, we are really the one's who are being deceived and losing a bigger battle to the enemy. Satan knows this better than we do, so he has posed stealing as attractive, mainstream entertainment for society to subtly accept. I mean, who hasn't enjoyed watching George Clooney and Brad Pitt's characters skillfully plan and execute the perfect caper in Oceans 11? It is thrilling. It is fun. But, I'm sorry to say... it is promoting something wrong.

WHOA! Wait a minute, Victoria... now you are hitting a nerve. I enjoyed that movie. I thought it was cute and witty!

Hmmm - cute and witty.... Stealing. Mission accomplished, Satan.

Most will not accept that our willingness to accept and follow God and His commandments will separate the wheat from the chaff... the men from the boys, if you will. We will either show up fully committed to give Him everything... or we will not. The love of money, the love of possessions, the love of anything other than God... is sin.

"Better is a little with the fear of the LORD, than great treasure with trouble." (Proverbs 15:16)

God's provision for us, however modest it may seem at the time, is always... ALWAYS better for us than trying to grab for ourselves and make our own way. That is why Jesus gave little thought to the value of one's possessions when He told people to leave everything and follow Him. He knows He is better. He is more fulfilling. He is everything we will ever need. Period.

Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self? (Luke 9:23-24)

Ladies, we must look at this command broader than we have done so in the past. For it is not just about physically stealing possessions and cheating "the system"... it is about spiritually assessing if we seek and desire anything before God. For if we do, we are stealing life from ourselves! We must ask ourselves some very hard questions. Do we love money and things too much? Do we look to them as a form of security that outweighs the provision of our Redeemer? Are we more concerned about how wealthy we appear and what we seem to have than who we are emulating and how we can give more of ourselves to Him? We are told in scripture that money is the root of all evil. This is so true as wealth and possessions cause us to feel bigger than we actually are. But in the end, glory will only be given to One... and that One will be God. Nothing we acquire here on earth will matter. Nothing we defend to hold onto will last. It will come down to each individual standing before God... alone. There, He will recognize those who believed and followed Him and will deny those who rejected Him. Unfortunately, many cannot let go of what they can grasp in their own hand over what they are promised to receive according to His plan. This is the greatest tragedy.

Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." At this the man's face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!" The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, "Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, "Who then can be saved?" Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God." Peter said to him, "We have left everything to follow you!" "I tell you the truth," Jesus replied, "no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first." (Mark 10:21-31)

It is clear that Jesus loved the rich man mentioned in Mark 10. In fact, it is clear that Christ loves all mankind. But even in loving us, God will not excuse us from our sin and grant us access into His kingdom if we cling to treasures on earth and disregard The Shepherd's call to follow His way. We must leave EVERYTHING aside and love and trust Jesus MORE. That is His call to live in His name. There is no greater gift we could receive!

Ladies, let's not rob ourselves of God's gift. Let's not walk away sad with mere trinkets and piddly coins clutched into our hands while losing the key to our eternal freedom, wealth and security. There is no greater necessity than our being close to God.

This world... this universe... will never belong to any human. Every person we love, every object we use, every color, every taste, every sound, every smell, every substance, every distinct molecular composition know, every empty space, every realm, every mass, every form of matter - what we have seen and what we have not seen... it all belongs to God. EVERYTHING BELONGS TO GOD... FOREVER!

He is the sole proprietor... the legal possessor... the primary owner of all that was, that is, and that will ever be. No matter how big our appetite, we will never acquire anything or overshadow any glory that is His - - nor should we dishonestly make the attempt. The only thing that should matter to us is God! For He is all that we can we truly claim as our own.

If we submit ourselves over to Him, He has promised us great reward and life in His presence. He has offered us a relationship... a friendship that He wants to develop and grow. Yes, our Creator loves us and wants to be with us. How blessed we are that He is a good and faithful King. Let's direct our hearts back to the Savior who freely gives to those who follow Him a living inheritance in His holy, eternal kingdom! He is worthy. He is in control. He will be glorified. He will remain true. He is Jehovah God who provides for His people. THE LORD GOD ALMIGHTY!

"Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, 'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.' So we say with confidence, 'The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?'" (Hebrews 13:5-6)

There is nothing we should grab onto more than God's attention, His friendship, His eternal presence, His love. He will never forsake us and will provide us everything. For HE IS EVERYTHING!

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls." (1 Peter 1:3-9)



© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

1 comment:

  1. wow - how true and thought provoking!!! each day should be a work in progress for the above goal.