I watch as the world goes by, I watch almost eight billion people, souls created by God, as most of them struggle and toil for their existence, as they ponder no more than this life, seeking the pleasures it can bring them. “He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man; he that loveth wine and oil shall not be rich.” (Prov. 21:17) I watch as they continue in the repetitive motions, yearning today for all that tomorrow promises, struggling through the mud in search of dry ground, unaware that their time is almost up, that the day of reckoning is approaching.
The pleasures of this world pull at us constantly, we were made to want more, but how many are seeking for the abundance in the spiritual, as opposed to the temporal. In times of plenty, men’s hearts most generally draw away from the Lord, they begin to seek the adornments of the world, the thankfulness for the bread on the bottom rack of the market is replaced with three course dinners and evening meals that once cost as much as their entire grocery budget for the week, but their giving does not increase. In times of peace and prosperity, times of the lack of the knowledge of want, our Lord is left at the church, no longer needed, for we have what we desire. But the inverse for some stands just as true, when only the most basic needs are met, we rarely give thanks for them, but instead miss what we once had, we tend to find little joy in times of less.
Those who will never know the pleasures, the false treasures of the world, want them, and those who have them fear the loss of them. Contentment is not external my friends, it is an internal matter, and it cannot be found outside of Christ. Some of you reading this may understand full well what I am speaking of, you may have had much, and then lost it, or lost the ability to continue in the pursuit of these transitory pleasures that the world offers us daily, the vacations, the ability to purchase what you wanted when you wanted it are now gone, the bread on the lower shelf is your only option. The question is, are you still content, or are you planning on a life of desire for that you once knew. The Lord our God sets a path before each and every one of His children, it is clear and plain, but that is all He does in this respect, He does not force us to walk it, He offers no happiness in this world from the world while we are upon it, we are not forced to walk the path. Herein is where many believers have failed miserably, they keep their emotional state in the view of self, instead of in service to Christ, to put it simply, they feel bad when things are not going so well in the temporal, in the world for them.
There are too many when times are easy that begin to believe this is how it is supposed to be, I’m serving Christ so I have a nice house, a good vehicle, plenty of food and all the accoutrements that the world can offer me, they base their emotional state on things that are seen and not on the unseen. When the trials and tribulations arise, they do not rejoice, they do not give God the glory for removing all these items that they have surrounded themselves with, they cannot see that He is telling them that He is all they need. There are two parts in the Book of Job that most Christians seem able to converse about, when Satan was allowed to vex Job, and when God spoke to him, but the parts in between are foreign to them, the account of a man who questions the Almighty for what He has allowed to occur in his life. As if we have that right. “There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the Lord.” (Prov. 21:30)
What gives us the right to believe we can decide the path that the Lord should set before us, what makes us think that He should give us everything that we want and never take any of it away, who are we to question the will of God. Our emotional states are based too much on the material blessings that He has given us, and the weaker brother, the one who refuses to trust in His Sovereignty in their lives, will find many a time in that life where they will question His authority. How we approach what He has in store for us is left completely up to us, you can sit on the sofa and whine, if He decides to leave you a sofa, or you can praise His name, you can miss all you once had and were able to do, or you can walk through the next door He has opened for you, the choice has always been ours.
I would ask you to look at a verse with me in Ezekiel chapter 24. The prophet has been serving the Lord as he was commanded to, willingly and without pause, and then the Lord tells him, “Son of man, behold, I take away from thee the desire of thine eyes with a stroke: yet neither shalt thou mourn nor weep, neither shall thy tears run down.” (Ezekiel 24:16) What do you believe their last night together was like, did he inform her, or did he just hold her close on that final night and love her. “This is what I want you to do, and I want you to do it in the fulness of joy and love for me.” Has our Lord ever said these words to you, has He ever asked you to give up anything or anyone of value to you, and then said, “Keep serving.” “Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.” (Gen. 22:2)
Have you come to the realization yet that how we feel about serving Christ is of the utmost meaning to Him, that He judges the heart, (Jer. 17:10) that means your attitude my brothers and sisters, and you and only you have control over this part of who you are. If He wants you to have plenty, you will have plenty, if He decides to remove all of it from you, what He expects is praise, not whining and complaining, what He expects is to be glorified. And rightly so, for it is in Him and through Him only that we exist. (Acts 17:28) No one who seeks for the pleasures of this world will ever be fulfilled by them, and they will have no treasures waiting for them in heaven.
Our faith is to be a fact, not a feeling, not something that can be swayed by the current circumstances that surround us today, the joy of the Lord is to be no different on the mountaintop than it is in the valley. “Rejoice in the LORD always: and again I say, Rejoice.” (Phil. 4:4)