“Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’ — and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked . . .” (Revelation 3:17).

IT IS NOT WRONG TO WANT TO ENJOY LIFE IN THIS WORLD, BUT WE SHOULD BE AWARE OF THE DANGER OF THAT ENJOYMENT. The more we have what we want in this life, the more we’re deluded into thinking we have all we need. The problem is not that earthly joys are wrong, but that if we’re not careful, they can be misleading.

On the desk at which I write — within my reach at this very moment — is a handy dispenser of peanut M&M candies. I can’t concentrate when I’m hungry, and what I’ve found is that a few mouthfuls of M&Ms can always be counted on to make the hunger go away. Eating candy is very satisfying. But here is the catch: the very satisfaction candy gives you is misleading. It makes you think you don’t need anything else, when in reality you do.

The Laodiceans were satisfied. They had what they wanted, and the very satisfaction of those needs blinded them to the fact that they were dangerously deficient in what they really needed. “You do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked,” the Lord said to them. Would He be able to say anything different to those of us today who are enjoying life so well?

What should we do, then, in regard to this world’s “candy”?

(1) We should moderate our indulgence. Like candy, the things that may be enjoyed in this life should not be overindulged, lest they spoil our appetite for the nourishment we truly need.

(2) We should hold on to our priorities. Even when our greater needs are not being felt, they’re still there. We need to keep clear what is important, even when it doesn’t feel particularly urgent.

(3) We should discipline our thinking. When we have what we want right now, our minds are drawn toward this world. But we can choose to “set [our] mind on things above” (Colossians 3:2).

It may sound contradictory, but there is a sense in which we need to enjoy our earthly enjoyments a little less enjoyably. Somehow, we must learn to be content without being complacent. We must learn to be thankful for what we already have while remembering that we don’t yet have what we need most of all.

“Show me a thoroughly satisfied man — and I will show you a failure” (Thomas Alva Edison).

Gary Henry – WordPoints.com

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