Coloratura Christian

I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed. (Psalm 34:4-5)

Friday, March 03, 2006

"A Thousand Lives We Falsely Imagine"

In studying 1 Timothy, I have been struck by the necessity of Christians pursuing true contentment. I find it is quite natural to desire things that I don't have, and quite attractive to dwell on these things in the name of future dreams and goals.

1 Timothy 6:6-9 says:
Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.

Paul is not speaking of the rich falling into temptation and snares, but those who desire to be rich are "plunged into ruin and destruction." It is this intense desire for something we don't have overwhelms us with anxiety and sinks us low. We plan and scheme as if the weight of our future were entirely on our own shoulders. It may be a desire for financial security, a spouse, children, more education, a better job, losing weight or perhaps even being a spiritual 'superstar.'

Difficulty arises because pursuing these desires may be going expressly against what God would have for us. Do you desire to be rich? Perhaps God would have for you to be poor. In Calvin's commentary, he says:

Our covetousness is an insatiable gulf, if it be not restrained;...the best bridle is, when we desire nothing more than the necessity of this life demands;...the reason why we transgress the bounds, is, that our anxiety extends to a thousand lives which we falsely imagine.

I am starting to see that while it is good for Christians to wisely plan for the future, it is extremely important that we do not waste our thoughts longing for the future, especially because this future is not real, but rather "falsely imagined." Maybe we won't live to see tomorrow.

The thing we covet will begin to take over our lives, and yet, this sickly craving can never find true satisfaction. We will always be striving for an unattainable goal.

Although it can be difficult, these words Psalm 34:10 ring true:

"The young lions suffer want and hunger: but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing."


  • At March 05, 2006, Blogger Marlene S. said…

    I was struck by this in my own heart last night. Dan's been at Shepherd's Conference and last night, we were discussing future "goals". It seems any concrete goals related to ministry are perilously close to walking in our own ways, as opposed to relying on God for His leading. I especially noticed this as I was later praying for Dan's "job" and his "success" in it.

    Obviously, success would be pleasing God, but can there be more "definable" elements to future aspirations in such a profession? I struggled to pray to such ends. I'd welcome your thoughts in this regard.

  • At March 06, 2006, Blogger Christel Humfrey said…

    Hi Marlene,

    I also find it difficult to pray for Clint's future ministry goals.

    I usually don't pray that God would make a very specific ministry opportunity happen for him, but rather that God would show us clearly where Clint should be laboring in the kingdom.

    I think we can pray for specific future goals, as long as we hold them with a "loose hand" (as Clint often says.) I know for me, I like to grab unto goals and hold them very tightly in my hand, and it can be very painful when God has to pry my fingers open.

    Some of the more definable elements that I often pray for are, that Clint would find real satisfaction and contentment in what he is doing, and that God would work mightily through him to glorify Himself and to bring others to a greater knowledge of Him.

    As I'm thinking this through, I am convicted that I haven't taken enough time to really study and find out what are the very best things I can be praying for Clint's ministry on a regular basis.

    I wonder if the best place to start would be looking at what Paul asks others to pray for him. I can think of Col. 4:3, "pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ...that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak." 2 Thess. 3:1, "pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored...and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men."

    Thanks for making me think more about this. If you have anymore thoughts, please share. :)

  • At March 06, 2006, Blogger Marlene S. said…

    Some good encouragement to head to the word for guidance on how to pray. I've been reading The Joy of a Word Filled Family by Dr. J. Barnett and as I look at the next chapter, it's dealing with prayers from scripture that we can use for our children.

    Maybe I'll highlight some of the ones that could be used for our husbands as I read it and post them for you too.

    Thanks for the encouragement towards this means of supporting Dan. I too can always pray more for him and for his service to our King.


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