Dear Brothers & Sisters,
The last two weeks have been weird for me, dealing with a minor dental surgery that I hadn’t planned for, and then sort of helplessly being knocked around by the healing process while trying to keep functioning in all the most important areas. I’ve been in and out of work frequently, and one of the things that happened to me was that I stopped doing my daily devotion in the TABLETALK magazine.
Now, you all know that I’ve been recommending TABLETALK for the past few months, and I’m really happy that in September we’ve arranged for every family in our church to start receiving these monthly. What you might not have known is that each work day, Brandon Belcher (who is one of our deacons) and I sit down and read the devotion together…but my little procedure messed that schedule up.
Well yesterday we began again, and wouldn’t you know it, when we opened the book to the devotion of the day the title that was staring back at us was, “COVETOUSNESS”.
I shouldn’t be surprised that God does those little things for me, but I still am from time to time. For a solid month now I’ve been teaching and preaching on covetousness, an area of sin that is too often neglected and difficult to be honest about for all of us. The last two sermons I preached before stepping away to heal and recover were titled, “The Idol of Us” (Part 1 & 2), which can be found here on our Resources page. I know I was convicted as we read the devotion, and it meant a lot having Brandon there, too.
Here is a little excerpt from the article where the author takes a critical look at the rich man in Jesus’ parable in Luke 12:
”The problem with that rich man is not that he was planning for the future. The problem can be summed up in three ways. First, he didn’t think of anyone but himself. It never occurred to him to give, to contribute, to offer of his abundance to others. Second, he didn’t think of God, nor did he take Him into consideration. Note that God is completely absent from the plans he made. He could even be a practicing Jew, careful to keep the Mosaic Law. But he was a practical atheist.” (Dr. Augustus Nicodemus Lopes, TABLETALK August 2019, p.50)
It was that second point that got me. I know we don’t have a church of atheists. We have a church of Christian people who believe in their God and who try to be righteous. But if we do not stop and consider God in our plans and before we take action, then we are practicing our lives as if we were atheists. Or, we might rephrase that a little bit to fit what we have been considering in Colossians 3. We might say, this:
If the only real god that we bother to consult in our day-to-day lives is the god of our own thinking, our own wanting, and our own feeling, then we have become the very idols that Jesus gave His life to free us from.
This is what Paul means when he tells us in Colossians that covetousness is idolatry. Please God, save us from ourselves! I love you all, and I want you to know that I care for you very much. I am in this battle against covetousness right along with you, and I want the Lord Jesus to have His victory over me.