LifeLink Devotions (Click here for Apple podcast)
Monday, March 21, 2022
Jacob, age 85, and Rebecca, age 83, were getting really excited about their upcoming wedding. Both widowed, they were looking forward to spending their remaining years together. One day while on a stroll they entered the local drug store. They began to question one of the clerks. They asked about heart medication, pain medication, vitamins, sleeping pills, antacids, blood sugar test equipment, and so much more. After getting a favorable response from the clerk to all their inquiries, they looked at each other and smiled. They knew they had found the place to register for their wedding gifts.
The older we get, the more we focus on our real needs rather than our dreams. I would like to think that it’s because we are more mature. Maybe it’s because we already bought everything we thought we would ever want. When the Apostle Paul tells us to imitate God, he lists some obvious characteristics of our life. One of them is that there will not even be a hint of greed in us. This is really tough. How do we distinguish between needs and wants – between basic provisions and greedy desires? For me it all boils down to the difference between serving and satisfying. If I want it because I can’t serve God faithfully without it, then it’s a need. If I want it because I can’t satisfy myself without it, then it’s greed.
Ephesians 5:3 “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.”
The Greek word for greed means “the desire to have more, especially because others have it.” Greed is the fuel that powers the engine of self-fulfillment. That engine drives us to use possessions to establish our identity and our worth. It takes us to the store to buy something when we are feeling depressed or rejected. It drives us along the streets of the community of Comparison. It transports our thoughts to images of greater success based on our ability to own more things. It is an engine that is easily started and not easily shut off. The ignition key is pride, and pride tells us it’s ok to drive around every now and then just to see what’s out there. We justify the drive because we claim to be in control of the steering and the brakes. But we are not in control. Once pride has ignited the fuel and put greed in motion we find it difficult to put on any brakes. We are being driven by desires for improved image, status, social standing, and success, and we are convinced that all of those things are possible through possessions.
As imitators of God, this is sin. When self is honored through the acquisition of things it does dishonor to God. When we seek to earn value through performance it is in direct opposition to the love of God. God’s love is not earned. Our position is Christ is not achieved by human effort. God’s love conquers the greed of self-gratification.
Paul says greed is improper for us. The original Greek literally says, “As imitators of God, be conspicuous by the absence of greed.” It is improper for Christians to be greedy because they cease to be conspicuous as Christians. When we turn from serving God to satisfying self, we identify with the world, and we are seen as one of them. That is not God’s call on our lives. We are to be conspicuous for Christ, identified by the life of Christ in us and not the effects of the world on us. Greed camouflages Christ.
Every day we are bombarded with messages from the world that seek to convince us that our lives will be better, more fulfilling, and more successful if we will just buy their products and live their lifestyle. It’s a lie! Don’t believe it. Satisfying self ends in greater heartache, pain, and disillusionment. Serving God is what truly satisfies. Be conspicuous by your rejection of self. Be conspicuous for Christ.