>Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. Colossians 3:5-11


“Greed is good” according to Gordon Gecko, the quintessential inside trader in Oliver Stone’s Wall Street. In the end, GG discovers that greed fueled by illegal activity leads to a good amount of prison time. In the process, greed, as intoxicating as it is, leaves the characters with a hangover of emptiness. Why?


When you take possessions, pleasure or prestige and make them the dominate theme in your life, you come up short. Material possessions, sex and significance are not wrong in and of themselves. In fact, they are very good things that God Himself created.


But, there’s a point when possessions, pleasure or prestige cross a line and become the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life (1 John 2:16, KJV). When we take a good thing and make it a “god thing,” it becomes a bad thing.


If we depend on material things to satisfy us, we find ourselves only wanting to acquire more. If we depend on porn, romance novels or Facebook chats for intimacy, we find ourselves right back in the cycle and coming up empty every time. If our significance depends on recognition from others, we will always find ourselves trying to seek validation from others still. Why?


Materialism, pornography, chick flicks, and accolades can’t fulfill our need for God and our need for others. These things leave us empty and ashamed. We’re no better than the junkie smoking crack or the wino asking for spare change. If that puts an ugly face on what you enjoy, then you’re seeing it correctly.


Paul says that these things are part of the old self. Our relationship with the old self is to kill it. We are to take it off like an old, ragged shirt headed for the trash. But, God doesn’t leave us naked. He gives us a new self to wear in its place.


That seems easy enough, so why doesn’t it work that easily? It seems easier to grab the apple from the tree than to depend on God to meet our needs.

Adam and Eve’s fall is really no different than ours. God would have given them the Knowledge of Good and Evil. He just didn’t want them to have to bear that burden yet. But plucking the apple from the tree was easy, it was accessible, it was within their control. It was as easy as picking the credit card from our wallet or surfing to a porn site.


If the centerpiece of our lives is to please ourselves or even to please others (we call this codependency), then our focus is on apple picking.

Apple picking reveals a lack of trust in God. God has promised to provide for all of our needs (Philippians 4:19). God has pledge not to withhold any good thing from His children (Psalm 84:11). If I trust God, then I can depend on Him to meet my needs and direct my steps.


Let me caution you. This devotional has mentioned every category of sin known to man. If you struggle with something that was mentioned today, don’t be surprised if you are more tempted than ever today. Stop right now and pray for God to take these desires from you and ask God to meet your need. Then, phone a friend and ask them to pray for you.


What God has in store for you is worth the wait.

 

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