1 TIMOTHY 3:16-17

"All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us...God uses it to prepare and equip His people to do every good work."

Sunday, December 5, 2010

PHILIPPIANS - The Season of Discontent

‘Tis the season to be buying…

Oh wait, that’s not how it’s supposed to go!

But isn’t that what happens?

We get overwhelmed with the media blitz that programs our willing little minds with the mantra, “Shop, shop, shop…”

Our church is doing a message series between Thanksgiving and Christmas called, “Consumed.”

It's a thought-provoking word. What consumes us?

I looked up the definition for the word “consume.” This is what it says:

“To spend wastefully; squander; use up; waste or burn away; perish.”

I’m not pointing fingers here! I’ve been a recovering “shopaholic” my whole life. It’s difficult not to WANT MORE. It’s even more difficult when you have the financial means to get more. And even when you don’t, there’s credit.

Oh yes, the urge to acquire is powerful.

But where does it come from?

Our pastor testifies that it started in the beginning. In a perfect place where EVERY need was provided by a loving and attentive God.

And that’s when “THE LIE” came –

The devil placed a niggling worm of doubt in the mind of Eve.

“Psst. God is withholding something from you – something GOOD.

Oh, that wily serpent. He implied that God was strict, stingy, and selfish. He got Eve to forget all that God had given her.

He moved Eve from a heart of gratitude to a mind of discontent.

He does the same thing to us. He gets us to focus on the ONE thing we DON’T have. And then, the seed begins to grow. We get “consumed” with what we think is “missing” from our lives – the one thing we “have” to have.

Discontent grows into resentment. And unchecked resentment grows into anger. And unchecked anger grows into bitterness.

We forget to be thankful. We allow gratitude to die.

How do we fight against this insidious attitude?

We battle with the truth!

God is good.

Life is dependence on God.

All life is a gift from Him.

That’s how we break the confusion. We dedicate ourselves to gratitude. We learn to cultivate contentment.

Today’s “Bible Pick ‘Ems” completely enhances this valuable lesson. Listen to the words of Paul:

“…for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret to living in every situation…For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:12-13)

Paul looked at life from GOD’S perspective.

He focused on what he was supposed to DO, not on what he felt he should HAVE.

We can learn some powerful lessons from Paul:

1) Set our priorities straight.
2) Be grateful for everything God has given us.
3) Detach ourselves from the nonessentials.
4) Concentrate on the eternal.
5) Fill up that “empty” place in our hearts with God – not with things.

Here’s how our pastor summed it up – Want what you have, and don’t want more.

Contentment is found right HERE – right where you are. It is a discipline of mind, and a surrender of heart.

It is rejecting society’s message to consume. It is resisting the urge to accumulate. It is refusing to fill empty places in our hearts with “stuff.”

It is renouncing the enemy’s lie.

It is claiming God’s goodness, and living like we believe it – single-mindedly, wholeheartedly.

The other definition for “consumed” is this: to be engaged fully, to be engrossed, held firmly, completely occupied!

Let GOD consume you…

“Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

“When in doubt, search God out!”


  1. There was a good amount of meat to chew on
    here today, Sharon. Wisdom from God! The
    thought of being consumed by Him is the
    most wonderful sounding thing I can think
    of for a gift. He is all we need for
    Christmas and any other time.

  2. Amen to these words, Sharon, and what a great series your pastor is doing!! I am learning to be content in God and I want to be totally consumed by him. I could easily leave all my possessions except for my Bible, but I'm married to one who hangs onto things. I think I said before to you, but I remember what Jesus had here on earth, nothing, because he knew how gloriously wonderful heaven and being with his father was. I try to think of those things when I'm wanting something and be content with him.

    wonderfully wise words this morning Sharon :)

    enjoy the day


  3. Sandy - Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting. Yes, I can't think of ANYTHING any better than being consumed by God. All I want for Christmas is...HIM!

    Betty - It's been a very meaningful series. Very thought-provoking. I admire people like you who can "let go" of things. I have a really hard time with that. And yet, as you have put so wisely, Jesus is our example - and He was content with "nowhere to lay his head" - because He knew something SO MUCH BETTER!! I like how you ended this. It isn't just being content with less things, it's being content (fully fulfilled) with Him!

    Hope you both had a wonderful Sunday - mine was especially special.


  4. What a great message. I love the title of the series too: "consumed". It says so much.

    Let's be grateful for the things we have. Let's be grateful to our Lord God and Saviour.


  5. What a wonderful blog for right before Christmas. People just keep buying more and our dumps just keep filling up from the old stuff. Haveing more does not make people happy. I am no longer a big consumer so there aren't usaully more then one gift under the tree that hubby and I get each other. I try to make my gifts for friends and family. I really don't like when people give something just because it's the tradition. I have a whole drawer full of gifts I will never use. People should be giving of themselves. We should all feel grateful for what we have already and not feel the need to always have the newest or lasted item. To only be consumed by God now that is something to live by. Have a wonderful week.

  6. Lyn - Gratitude seems to a virtue that is sadly lacking in the world today. We are a greedy world, and humanity will always have that sense of entitlement living in our hearts of pride. "Consumed" - placed in things, it's death. Placed in God above all else - it's LIFE!

    Carrie - Thanks for your great comments. Yes, you have brought up yet another ill effect of thoughtless accumulation - the effect the leftover TRASH has on the earth - the world we are called to be good stewards over. Less is more - "stuff" does not make people happy - in fact, sometimes it's just the opposite. Things you own begin to own you. I like the idea of hand-made items. And giving our time - that is also great.

    Note: Our church has something called "Give Cards." Basically, instead of a gift certificate, you buy a "give card" and give it to someone else. Then, that person has the opportunity to "give" that card (and the $ it represents) to a charity of THEIR choice. I think it's a great idea!



"So I have been greatly encouraged in the midst of my troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives me new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How I thank God for you!"
(1 Thessalonians 3:7-9)

Thanks for your comments - it is such a joy to be sharing my journey with friends like YOU!