Oh I Wish…
Rosemary Flaaten -
Have you ever found yourself wishing you had the life of the rich and famous? Whether it’s the free wheeling love life with the newest most beautiful person or the gluttonous lifestyle that enjoys the pleasures of the moment without concern for any long term consequences. Although I cognitively know that their lifestyle choices will end in harm, I find my heart wandering toward envy of their sinful ways. Immediate gratification—whether its excess amounts of fine wine and rich foods, buying the latest gadget or stealing a look at a pornographic image—provides on-the-spot enjoyment. Throw out self-control, caution and denial. Eat, drink and love for who knows what tomorrow will hold.
“Do not let your heart envy sinners, but always be zealous for the fear of the Lord for there is surely a future hope for you” (Proverbs 23:17) This proverb breaks down in three parts – present, past and future.
The present is the “good times” we see around us and in our interior world we wish we could be free of restraint. Our longing for independence, which we inherited from Adam and Eve, causes us to pursue self-indulgence.
The second part of this proverb is regarding the past. Our ability to fear the Lord develops as we ponder God’s character and take stock of all He has done for us. The awe that develops comes out of the history we have with Him.
The third part of the proverb peers into the future. Hope is directed toward something we do not yet have. Our present envy comes from a lack of retention about God’s goodness and thus our hope is thwarted. We wrongly believe that we must have our desires for pleasure met now or the opportunity will be missed and no more will come our way. But pondering God’s track record will help us to postpone immediate gratification with second rate options and instead wait for the top-notch gifts from His hand.
PRAYER: Lord, help me to believe in the core of my being that Your way is truly life-giving and that the path of sin leads to destruction.
“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 NIV).