Do you have the tendency to compare your life with that of other people? To compete? Do you get that sinking feeling, or a whiff of sadness and discontent, when you see others, like friends, having the grandest time of their life – the grandest house, the grandest vacation, the grandest possessions?
I used to have these tendencies. I used to compare and compete. Oh, how I thrived in competition! But with the totally-surrendered life to the Lord are the priceless lessons that come with it. He just have to remove all these: lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh, and pride of life.
For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. (1 John 2:16 NKJV)
For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. (1 John 2:16 NLT)
And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever. (1 John 2:17 NLT)
The things that we lust upon and those that make us proud have no place in His heart, and if we embrace these, we just have no place in Him.
For if we look at the life of the Lord Jesus Christ, where does God’s glory rest? It doesn’t rest in palaces with shining colonnades and gilded thrones, but in a humble manger covered with hay. It doesn’t rest in bigger-than-life bronze or granite monuments, but on an old rugged cross there on top of a hill where blood and tears flowed and mingled.
But how did the Lord remove all that “pride of life” from me? It was a long process. At first, I only wanted to obey Him, so we got contented with our home and did not desire anymore to have a bigger one or with a sprawling lawn with all the embellishments of a fairyland.
Our Church promotes simplicity: decent clothing that reflects a life of true holiness and absolutely no jewelries. After three months of being saved, I put all my stash of jewelries – genuine diamonds of different shapes and sizes, pearls and gold – into a paper bag, including a jewelry box and gave them all as an offering. I pulled almost all of my expensive clothes out of my closet and sold them to our office employees and gave the proceeds to our Church.
I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God. (1 Tim. 2:9-10 NIV)
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. (1 Pet. 3:3-4 NIV)
We learned to buy clothing that need not be expensive or “signature” ones and we learned not to buy too much. We sold a property (and one is still for sale) because we didn’t want to be hoarders. We learned to live in simplicity although there was that constant temptation to have more because by God’s abundant grace, we have the means, so we learned to cling to this as a constant reminder:
He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you, but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God? (Mic. 6:8 NKJV)
The Lord pried open our hearts to make us see the things that break His heart: souls that are needing salvation, stomachs that are empty and needing to be filled, poor children that dream of a bright future… We were taught to give, and to give generously, for the work of the Lord: the Gospel of salvation preached to all people.
“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” (Mat. 6: 19-21 NLT)
But there were still times that I felt a pinch in my heart whenever I saw people living the plush, sophisticated life I used to live. So I continued to pray that God will take away the temptations of this world from my heart and draw me ever nearer to His will.
One day, He showed it to me, as clear as noonday that I felt like singing and dancing and leaping! In this life that we are living, His presence is here, His wonderful blessings are all around, I only have to REALLY SEE! (Why do Christians sometimes have “far-sighted” vision?).
He made me see that THIS is the life He wants for us, and in it He supplies the daily joy and inspiration, AND HE IS ENOUGH. His grace is sufficient and in His presence is fullness of joy! Halleluiah!
So I’m basking in His light and I’m raising my hands and worshiping this wonderful Lord and celebrating this joy pure and true!
The song below is one of the praise songs that I love listening to and singing to the Lord in my private worship time. It speaks of the priceless presence of God in a Christian’s life. I pray you’ll learn it, too.
This post is linked to Sharing His Beauty, Domestically Divine, Time-warp Wife, Women Living Well, Women in the Word Wednesday, Raising Homemakers, Walk with Him Wednesday, Brag on God Friday, Spiritual Sundays, Proverbs 31 Thursday