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Living abundantly

James 4:1-2 – Is Life More Than a ‘Satisfied Self?’

Here is the revelation that is shaping my life today – there is a subtle but powerful story afoot that causes quarrels, fights and war.

James 4:1-2 NLT

[1] What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? [2] You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them

Observation

Why all the conflict in the world, in me? Essentially it’s because I want what you have. The culture of consumerism that drives our society works on the principle of making me feel in lack, that I must have that thing that others have. And not only does it speak a language of lack, but then turns and tells me ‘I deserve to have’ the thing that you have and I don’t. Lack and deserve create a toxic story within me that quarrels, judges and releases jealousy. These “evil desires at war within me.”

 

The more we communicate the more we share our lives, it seems the more we drive these evil stories. The more I see what you are wearing, where you are going, what you are eating, who you are with, what others say about how wonderful you are, the more I see of your life, the greater and louder and more directive this evil demands my warring response. Fear of missing out, lack, and deserve, create a lethal cocktail of conflict and jealousy that becomes a shaping story over my life.

 

When the best life we hope for is as Croatian theologian Miroslav Volf puts it, “our satisfied self”, then we will quarrel, fight and kill to achieve this. I would point out that this ‘satisfied self’ if achieved, will be dissatisfied by the morning. It’s not the way we were designed, it’s a horrendous lie that is shaping our lives. God designed us to be satisfied in him. Not in the things we can get, but a life that walks in the intimacy and the beauty of being alive , accepted and loved by Him. When we live in a spiritual wasteland where self demands to be satisfied then we gather around the screen and put our hope in the lotto balls falling in our favour, rather than gathering around the promise of His favour, provision and love.

 

 


Application

John Lennon wanted us to imagine there was no Heaven, I would ask us to imagine there is. Imagine a world where we will live celebrating life, where I celebrate you and your life, a world where conflict is not required for I am satisfied and wonderfully at peace with who I am and my life. I don’t want what you have, I want more of what God gives to me. Maybe it starts with entering in, for this is not a fairy tale to imagine but a promise to embrace. God is with me, for me, and satisfies all the longings of my heart, if I walk in His invitation of intimacy. This is where I will shape my life.

 


Response

Thank you that you release me from lack, deserve and jealousy shaping stories. Thank you that you have given me a bigger stage than a ‘satisfied self’ upon which to walk out my life. Thank you that your story makes consumerism look like a tasteless wafer. Thank you that I do not have to live in conflict. Thank you that your story is not about grabbing and gettting, but about humbly receiving from your goodness. I live a blessed life.

 


Meditation

How much of your life is spent serving consumerism, always wanting what you don’t have? How much does this cause conflict and jealousy to shape your story?

Are you seeking as your life ambition a ‘satisfied self,’ or are you seeking after the intimacy that God offers?

 


JOURNEY DEEPER
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