by Mary Alice McGinnis
There is a conspiracy going on RIGHT NOW. It is working on us every day. The strategy of this conspiracy starts with a promise. The promise of happiness, prosperity, fulfillment, having everything we could ever want or desire - satisfaction. It dances before us all the things that promise, “If you only have _________, then you will finally be happy and feel satisfied.”
Did you know it has been scientifically shown that things like the sweets, which we all love to eat, cause us to crave more? Isn’t it true of all the empty promises of this world? How many cookies will calm the cravings? How much wealth is enough for a person to feel content? How many promotions will it take to feel successful? How many different partners, pornography, or affairs will it take to find what it takes to satisfy physical passion? It is driven by the fear of scarcity, feeling like we will never have enough.
Here is the cycle. We crave, we reach out for what promises satisfaction; we feel euphoric - momentarily. But then the “high” wears off, discontent sets back in, and the thirst for MORE returns with a vengeance. So, we return to the things that promise relief, for satisfaction. And the cycle repeats.
This conspiracy has been our enemy’s game plan since the very beginning. Adam and Eve lived in the perfect place, the garden of Eden. They had the perfect relationship with each other. They walked daily with God. God provided them everything. It was sweet harmony, and endless satisfaction.
The Devil, in the form of a serpent, enters the scene. He tempted our first parents with discontentment. He lured them to think that God was holding out on them, that there was MORE that they were missing. They just needed to reach out and grab it.
Genesis 3:1b, 5 - He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” “God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
There is a way out of the hopeless addictive cycle of relying upon the world’s empty promises.
Listen again to verse 5 from today’s reading from the Amplified version:
“Let your character [your moral essence, your inner nature] be free from the love of money [shun greed—be financially ethical] . . .”
Notice, it talks about our character, our inner being! We are called to have a radically different character!
The Greek word translated here as “the love of money” could be translated as avaricious. The synonyms of avaricious (adj. greedy) are covetous, gluttonous, hoarding, money-grubbing, predatory, selfishly tight. If we take an inventory of our character, where do we find ourselves needing to be free from greed, covetousness, gluttony, money-grubbing, and hoarding?
Next vs 5 says: “. . .being content with what you have.”
How do we free ourselves from this endless pursuit to fulfill our insatiable desires? We cannot.
Contentment can only be found in grounding ourselves, returning again and again, to the promise of God and what He has done for US.
Verse 5 continues:
“For He has said,
‘I will never [under any circumstances] desert you
[nor give you up
nor leave you without support,
nor will I in any degree leave you helpless],
nor will I forsake or
let you down or
relax My hold on you
The emphasis of God’s promise to us is reiterated in the original text with 5 negatives.
- I will NOT,
- NOT ever leave you.
- I will NEVER,
- NEVER forsake you.
How could repeating this promise over and over lead you toward contentment?
How might clinging to this promise break the cycle and release you from bondage to the relentless SEARCH FOR MORE?
Lord, I want Your praise to be the fruit of my lips. I know You did not spare even Your own Beloved Son to die for me. I cling to the assurance that You will never, no never, leave me, no, never forsake me. You will fill the longings of my heart with ALL goodness, directly from Your hand of grace. So I will say with confidence, "You are my helper; I will NOT be afraid!"