A Confession

I have a confession to make. It will probably come as no surprise to those of you who know me well. Here it is—I love stuff. I’ve always loved stuff; ever since I was a little boy. I remember going shopping with my mom just so that I could get a chance to go the toy department and look at all of the stuff that I didn’t have, but wished that I did. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve dealt with God and have often repented of my materialistic ways. I’ve gone through seasons where I’ve been perfectly content with the things that I have and have even been ready to give it all away. Then there are the other times. The times when I secretly shop online, looking at bigger TV’s, shinier cell phones, tablets, cars, houses, and of course, Lego. It can suck me in at a moment’s notice and keep me focused on all the things I don’t have but wished that I did for hours. Modern advertising hasn’t helped. My Facebook page has ads tailored to my specific shopping habits. My email inbox has subject lines like, “25% off all orders over $100—today only.” And all too often I bite. Not necessarily actually buying anything, but I look…more than once. It seems like just when I’ve gotten this thing under control it rears its ugly head again and there I am looking at the ads for a new phone when mine is only 18 months old. I’ve tried to change. I’ve read books and blogs that tell me how I should be. I know that I need to avoid contact with my eyes. Pray. Read my Bible. Give instead of receive. I get it. But theory is always easier than practice, and this year Lego is going to come out with something new that my heart is going to tell me I have to have. I know that heart. It’s led me astray many times. I read somewhere that it was deceitful and desperately wicked—I concur. Sometimes I’m just at a loss as to what to do to fix the problem. That’s where the power of the Word of God comes to the rescue in my life. A verse that I memorized when I was in high school has helped me to bring this issue and many others that I’ve dealt with over the years into proper perspective. Jeremiah 29:13 says this, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Now I know that some of you are going to look at this verse and shake your heads because, “this is a promise that God was giving to the Israelites specifically about returning to the land of Israel.” Trust me. I’ve already heard that one. Here’s my take on that.  Paul says that all scripture is God breathed and useful for teaching, correcting, training, etc. I also know that God never changes. So if both of those things are true, then there’s a simple principle here that I can rely on—simple to understand, not simple to practice. It’s the principle of seeking. In all of my struggles to lay down my love of the material, or any other sin for that matter, I am wasting my time if I’m just trying to stop doing something. The goal of my life is not self-improvement. It’s to glorify God. So then the answer to defeating the sin in my life isn’t the 10 steps or the 5 keys or whatever else is out there this month. It’s simply seeking Him. Wholeheartedly. Turn off the phone. Shut down the email. Grab a cup of coffee and seek. Be like Jacob and cry out, “I won’t let you go until you bless me!” Keep on asking, keep on seeking, keep on knocking. Our God likes persistence. It reveals the true character that lies within. The root of my problem isn’t that I love stuff too much. It’s that I love God too little. The answer isn’t out there in the web somewhere, it’s in that old NASB Bible with the worn cover and the dangerously thin pages. If I want more of Him all I have to do is look for Him with an undivided heart.