Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Can you want a good thing too much?

Is it possible to want a good thing too much? Could it be sin to want something God clearly states it is good and right to have; if you want that thing too much? The answer is emphatically, "yes!"

I often want what God wants. I want justice for the unborn. I want unbelievers to repent of their sin and turn to Christ as their only hope. I want my children to be obedient and faithful to Christ. I want church members to participate in weekly corporate worship, prayer times, small groups, family worship, care for one another, active evangelism, and financial support of the ministry.

God wants all of these things as well! However, my desire for these things can become sin for me. When I want these things so strongly that I will sin to get them, then they have replaced God in my heart and I now worship them. This kind of sin is so subtle because we convince ourselves we only want what God wants. However, when I will violate a clear command of God in order to get some "thing," I have valued that "thing" over God. If I kill an abortionist to get justice for the unborn, I have usurped the role of God and desired justice for the unborn more than I have desired Him. If I desired and worshipped him, I could trust his word when he says, "vengeance is mine, I will repay." If I want the salvation of unbelievers so much that I will change the content of the gospel message to make it more appealing, I have committed a clear sin in an attempt to get an outcome I wanted. God is no longer on the throne in my life determining what should and should not be preached. I now rule over what is a good gospel message. If I want my children to behave properly to such a degree that I am willing to guilt, manipulate, or hit them in anger, then God's glory is not the end I am concerned with. The end I am concerned with is a particular kind of child. The type of child I want is really what I worship, not God. If I want my church members to behave properly to such a degree that I am willing to manipulate and guilt them, then my ultimate end is a good church, not the glory of God!

Here is my point in all of this: I have found myself desperately wanting things that are good and right to want because God even wants them. However, I have wanted those things more than I have wanted God. Therefore, I have sinned to try and get those things. I have sinned in my anger when I don't get them. I have been discontented when I don't get them. I have been manipulative to try and get them. In every case, I have demonstrated that the desire of my heart is not God's glory, but these "things." God really just serves as a kind of divine seal of approval on my pursuit of the idols of my heart! I must forsake my idols and start pursuing the Lord. I must desire the Giver more than the gifts! I must stop wanting a good thing too much.

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