Friday, September 28, 2012

The Trap of Things

The Trap of Things


“Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”  - Luke 12:15

Let’s be real.  We all like nice things.  Sometimes they’re not even expensive things, but just things that we feel we must have.  My weakness is sea shells, and I’ve literally got boxes and tall vases of them stored away.  Another one for me has been a set of cobalt glassware made by Anchor Hocking decades ago that has sailboats on it.  I don’t know why, but once I had just one piece, I felt like I had to have the whole set! 
For some of us, it’s shoes.  They come in so many styles and colors we just feel we need one pair to match everything in our closet.  And then, there are the clothes in the closet too.  We need something new for every occasion.  And don’t forget the jewelry!  Earrings, necklaces, purses, scarfs, and on and on until the closet looks like a fashion runway was deconstructed in the corner of the room!

But having things isn’t the problem.  It’s the root of the issue that is the problem.  Luke 12:15 says “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”  Luke isn’t saying “be on your guard against spending too much money on things”.  He says to be on your guard against covetousness. 
Covetousness is a sin of the heart where we let things become so important that we chase after them.  We allow them to occupy our focus in our free time, and consume us.  Some think this word only means looking at what others have and wanting it, and yes, that is coveting as well.  But stores having what we want, or beaches being filled with what we want, is coveting as well.  The things are not the sin – the position we give them in our heart is the sin.

Gideon, the great warrior of Israel, created one of these traps that all of Israel fell into.  After winning the war against the Midianites all of Israel wanted him to be their leader, and he refused and stated that the Lord God would be their leader instead.  But strangely enough, Gideon then requested that all the golden earrings that had been plundered from the Midianites be brought to him.  There must have been thousands because Gideon used it to make an ephod, which was a vest with precious stones that was worn by a priest over his robe.  That doesn’t sound like a bad thing until you go back in history and see what happened every single time these people melted down gold.  From each time they did it, an idol was formed.  And even this time, when it was a symbol of worship, Judges 8:27 says that Israel played the harlot with it there. It became a snare to Gideon and to his house.
It’s a sad story, don’t you think?  This mighty warrior of God used the victories of the battle God allowed him to win to create a trap that entangled all his people.  As Israel worshipped this ephod they forgot all about Gideon and how the Lord delivered them.  Judges 8:34-35 says they “did not remember the Lord their God, who had delivered them from the hands of all their enemies on every side; nor did they show kindness to the house of Jerubbaal (Gideon) in accordance with the good he had done for Israel”. 

This is the trapping of things.  We each have a throne in our hearts.  It’s that spot we hold sacred, reserved for what we love most.  When what we love becomes things, God is kicked off the throne, and we stop focusing on His will for our lives and His goals for us, and we start chasing after the things.  In Matthew 6:19-21 Jesus gives us the warning “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  Treasure here for a moment, or eternal treasure.  That’s the choice we have to make.
In a world that is completely materialistic, so many will judge you by the car you drive, the house you live in, the shoes you wear, and so forth.  But if you allow their judgments over you to determine how you live, they become your master, and you become their slave.  Be careful of the trap of things and don’t allow them to become your god.  Only God Almighty should be allowed in your heart’s throne room.



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