Don’t you just love when God surprises you with one of those “Ahha!” moments? I had this happen to me this past week, and it reminded me that God is the one responsible for my sanctification, and praise God for that! Here’s what went down:
My sinful nature of consumerism and materialism led me down a path of desiring something. Yes, just a thing. A thing that I wanted but did not need because I already had three of those same things already. But I wanted a new thing. A better thing. One of a different color. Excessive? Yes. Did I care? Not really. I had already made up my mind that I “needed” this new thing.
After a discussion about purchasing yet another thing that I did not truly need, Freeman and I determined a certain amount of money that we could possibly afford to put towards buying another thing. Granted, we were going to have to curtail our spending for the next couple of weeks in order to make it possible. Again, did I care? Not really. I wanted a new, shiny thing. I had already told Freeman, “I know I don’t need it, but I want it. I’ve tried to get past it and forget about it, but I just can’t.” I couldn’t get past it. But God could help me get past it. Fortunately, by the grace of God, we didn’t purchase this thing that night. God had bigger plans for me. Plans to teach me and sanctify me.
As I was running the next morning, I ran past a church and saw that the doorway was filled with stuff. I looked down and saw two people sleeping in the doorway of the church, the stuff around them probably the only things they had to their names in this life. It was cold that morning, and I remember thinking, “These people don’t even have a warm place to sleep, and I want to spend more money buying more things that I don’t need?” The beginning of conviction…
I finished my run and was walking back to our building when I noticed another homeless person on the way. Instantly, God’s Holy Spirit spoke to me and questioned my selfish heart. “Are you really going to curtail your own spending for a few weeks to buy another thing you don’t need? What about these people who have real needs? Take the money you were planning to ‘sacrifice’ and GIVE IT AWAY.” Ahh, the refreshing conviction of the Holy Spirit.
See, I had tried in my own, limited, human power to make myself get over wanting this silly thing. But I couldn’t do it. Sin still had a grip on my heart and made me want more and more, when God has already given me PLENTY, and I need nothing else. But praise God for his conviction in my life! I couldn’t make myself “get over it,” but by the grace of God, he could. And he did. I no longer have a desire for this thing. I have a desire to curtail our spending so I can give that money away to people who truly need it. And now every time I see the three other things that I have that I wanted to buy yet another of, I am reminded of God’s provision in my life – how I have abundantly more than I could ever need, and how I am to be grateful to God for providing these things and should be looking for ways to share in my abundance.
“for it is God who works in you, both to will and work for his good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13