What are we putting first in our lives?

The world offers a variety of things to put first in our lives—money, possessions, prestige, to name a few. But do these give the lasting happiness and security we long for?

In a society of "instant credit" and an abundance of material goods, how important it is that we guard against the lust for worldly possessions. Given today's strong trend toward self-gratifications, it's all too easy to fall into the trap of making acquisitions and ease ends in themselves.

Christ Jesus told his followers the parable of a rich man who, after accumulating many material possessions, said, "And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry." Luke 12:19. The sudden demise of the rich man at the very height of his supposed success reveals the frailty and limitation of earthly possessions, in contrast with the enduring riches that flow from devotion to unfailing Spirit, God. The Master goes on to add the telling statement "The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment." Luke 12:23. Throughout his healing ministry he urged his followers to seek the kingdom of God, to look beneath the material surface to find the spiritual reality at hand.

What practical steps can we take to do this? Certainly we need to be alert to the various attractions and distractions that clamor for attention. And we should monitor the activities we are pursuing; they indicate our motives and priorities. We might ask, for example, if preoccupation with the things of the world is preventing us from serving the community or taking a more active role in church. We should guard against "taking our ease" and waiting for a more "convenient season." See Acts 24:25. The carnal mind argues that it's much easier to continue with slothful habits and attitudes, collected and indulged over the years, than to replace them with spiritual qualities that help and heal.

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Strength for the moment
July 20, 1987

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