Monday, November 19, 2012

Second Thanksgiving Payback: Protection

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."
~ Unknown

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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  1. We do really throw ourselves into the pursuit of mammon, but for what? In the end, when I'm on my deathbed, will I have wished for just a little more stuff?

    1. David, please forgive the long-delayed reply. I think I shall send it via email. Watch for it.

  2. great reminder.... please, Lord, help me to always have grateful heart....

    1. NataĊĦa, He is always persuading us to see more, to be grateful for more. Our blessing comes in NOT resisting Him. Sending love to you! ♥

  3. We need to live in a constant state of thanksgiving.

    1. Indeed, Denise. To "pray without ceasing" is largely to be in that constanst state of thanksgiving.

  4. This really hits home. This would sound crazy to almost all people but I have started to think that I don't want my kids to be college/financially successful. In fact I have shared this with my kids and Sarah is almost ready to drop out of school now! LOl Anyway, I was thinking, "why on earth would I want financial success for my children in light of Matthew 19:24. So that it can be an incredible uphill battle for them?" And as much as Curt and I struggle financially, I don't care if either one of gets another raise or a better paying job for the rest of our lives. In the last 6mos or so, Jesus has put it on my heart to indulge in the gift of contentment! It has not been easy but I am determined...and it does get a little easier every day.

    1. it seems like i've been in a deep and personal battle for nearly two years now related to the area of "thanksgiving."


      If Sin is greatest enemy, giving thanks to God is perhaps the most effective protection we can employ against the tyrant.

      Now that's something to chew on!

      and those verses! a bit haunting for me in the right way.

    2. Mary, I appreciate what you're saying about willingness to forgo success and education to better facilitate contentment. As long as something better—better in the eyes of God, of course!—would replace it, I can even stretch myself to appreciate dropping out of school. But as close as Sarah is, I'd want to feel assurance that God has something to fill that void which is better and ready. It's always dangerous to leave the house vacant (Matthew 12:43-45).
      Something will inevitably fill the void.

    3. Bud, I think all of us struggle with the idea of giving thanks for whatever causes us most discomfort. It's good to remember that discomfort is ALWAYS intended to provoke us to move toward God. ; )


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