Most humans think that our greatest source of suffering and our number one enemy is named Death. We fear its process if not its outcome. We avoid discussion of it, as if to disallow it in conversation is to relegate it into nonexistence. We fight it at any cost.
But I assert that Death is merely a portal, and our number one enemy is named Sin. Whether or not Suffering travels with Death, Suffering never leaves the company of Sin. Suffering and Sin both, like cancer, grow wherever they find a foothold. Sin assaults soul, hurts neighbor, weakens every community in which we have a part, and affronts God. The Suffering which enters with Sin can be neither measured or called back.
You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask bad, that you may expend it on your desires.
~ James 4:2-3
… lust … covet … desire … Here is where sin originates.
"Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses."
~ Luke 12:15 (NKJV)
Here too is the difference between the hungry third-world child, happy to play in the dirt with his companions, sticks, and rocks, and the round first-world child who cannot content himself in a house filled with luxuries.
"And again I say to you, 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."
~ Matthew 19:24 (NKJV)
And here is the difference between two men of equal means—one who looks upon what he has, and one upon what he has not, whether material wealth, health, or relationship.
"Wealth consists not in the abundance of our possessions, but in the fewness of our wants."
In the practice of thankfulness, gratefully focused upon all we have, we become increasingly oblivious to the desires which invite sin and lead to suffering.
For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice.… O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!
~ Romans 7:19, 24-25 (NKJV)
If Sin is greatest enemy, giving thanks to God is perhaps the most effective protection we can employ against the tyrant.
Next time: Third Thanksgiving Payback – Purpose
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Copyright 2012, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.
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