31 Days of Progress, LIVE, Ministry

31 Days of Progress Day 18 :: Heart Choices Part 3

In order to love and serve my neighbor better, I need to check my attitudes and exchange right ones for the wrong ones.

Recap:

  • Attitudes are patterns of behavior, choices of the heart, developed over a long period of time.
  • We choose our attitudes.
  • In order to change an attitude, we must admit we chose it in the first place and truly desire to change it!
  • We must replace a wrong attitude with a right one, lest the wrong one return and develop stronger roots. {Matthew 12: 43-45}
  • We can replace an attitude of complaining with an attitude of thankfulness. {Part 2}

GreedyGirl

Covetousness

Loosely defined, covetousness is wanting wrong things – or right things for the wrong reasons – or right things at the wrong time – or right things in the wrong amount. Our consumerist society magnifies the latter. We are trained to constantly want more, newer, better.  “Enough” has been redefined…materialism is trying to make it obsolete.

Before you think I’m going all preachy on you, realize that this is a subject I struggle with on a daily basis.  Lisa likey the pretties! I pray about sharing things here, especially home decor and products I love. Rest assured that this household is on a very strict budget.  Most of the lovely home decor items I own were purchased for somewhere between 40% and 70% off.  Many were gifts or hand-me-downs.  Plenty are thrifted/repurposed/DIY’d. I will continue to pray that I will share with the purpose of inspiring creativity, encouraging thriftiness and contentment.

It is natural that we struggle with this, and coveting is not restricted to material things.  Raise your hand if you haven’t wanted someone else’s house, car, body, speaking or writing ability, energy level, skin tone, wardrobe, kids {just kidding}, etc, etc, etc. The apostle Paul reminds us in Romans chapter 7 & 8 that even believers still have 2 natures that are at constant war with each other. We have the Holy Spirit living inside of us conforming us into Christ’s image, but we still have our flesh – our sin nature. The Israelites, while wandering the desert for 40 years, struggled with covetousness.  They didn’t necessarily want what their neighbors had, but just more or different than what God had already given them.  Numbers 11 depicts a time when they were bored with manna and wanted meat.  They even went so far as to romanticize their time in Egypt {in slavery & abuse, mind you} and the fish they ate, etc.  What was the result of their complaining, their want of something better?  God gave them quail, but before they could even digest it, it went bad and they were struck with a plague.

The problem was not that they wanted meat.  The problem was that manna was what God chose for them.  It was enough.  Because it was God’s will, it was what was best for them at the time.  We will want things.  God Himself put desires in our hearts.  Remember the definition of covetousness above. The sin comes in when we yield to our wants out of season, or out of His will for us.  When we covet something to the point of making it essential, then beg God to give it to us, we are asking God to replace Himself with something we consider more important.

contentment

Contentment

In part 2 I shared, “When we view God as our merciful, gracious provider we realize how much we truly need Him and our dependence on Him produces faith.” That is where our contentment comes from.  With God, we can be satisfied and fulfilled with very little, but apart from Him all of the world’s riches will be tasteless, dry, disappointing.

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”
– Philippians 4:12-13

“And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”
– Philippians 4:19

We should be content with what we have.  We can only do this when we filter our desires through faith.

“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.” – 1 Timothy 6:6-7

If I am to truly love & serve my neighbor, I must take the focus off of what I want and learn to be content.  Then I can pour that energy & time, some of those resources, into helping others.  How about you? Do you have any secrets for kicking the covetousness bug?

 

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Besides the Scriptures and prayer, these are 2 great references used for this subject:

The Land Between: Finding God in Difficult Transitions, by Jeff Manion. Zondervan 2010. ISBN 978-0-310-32998-5.
Lord, Change My Attitude: Before It’s Too Late, by James MacDonald. Moody Publishers 1982. ISBN 978-0-8024-3439-5.

3 thoughts on “31 Days of Progress Day 18 :: Heart Choices Part 3”

  1. Love the picture of the old fashion little girl and her dolls! So cute! Kinda makes me think of you when you were little. (:>)

    It is wonderful to feel contentment and peace! God wants that for us. The old sin nature does raise its ugly head sometimes and we must fight it in God’s strength for sure! Godliness with contentment is great gain!

    Oh Lord help me to be like you! I desire a meek and quiet (gentle) spirit…and I want to please you and bring glory to your name! Amen!

    Like

  2. So nice of you to stop by my blog….mostly because it meant that I could find YOU and your great blog! What a gift for me, and timed perfectly for my life! Thanks for this. I’ll be reading over the previous ’31 Days’ and following you to the end of your series. Loving your take on life!

    Like

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