Saturday, February 24

How to Get A Quick Fix

Here's my study on financial freedom, #19.

We easily fall into a major psychological trap: thinking money can make us happy. Our paychecks were deposited this money, so we have a full bank account with thousands in it right now, and my day looks brighter as a result. 

But how many times have you gotten a paycheck or bought something new, and the initial excitement is much shorter than you expected? I've experienced this so many times. Paul addresses the desire for a quick fix of happiness in this text:
Passage: Eph. 5:18-20 
18 Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts, 20 giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

He's talking about getting a buzz by drinking, but money can promise the same kind of relief from the hard realities of our lives. Right now I need a new cell phone, and I can already hear all the promises: a new phone will make my life so much better; I'll be able to do more; it will be more convenient; and so on. I can feel the "joy" promised by it. 

But I've been around the block a few times, as I know you have, and I know that those promises are going to be short-lived. The realities of the hard conversations I need to have, the people who irritate me, the painful sacrifices God is calling me to make, will still all be there and soon the joy promised by the new marvelous gadget will be dashed.

That doesn't mean I should not get a new phone: but I shouldn't be enamored, fooled by the false promises.

Here's a much better way, says Paul. Be filled with the Spirit! The Spirit will help me, not avoid the hard conversations and irritating people, but to handle them with grace and love. Ask for grace to handle these. Pray and sing praise songs to God. Be thankful! 

What's the power in that? I love the insight of the VeggieTale's song: "A thankful heart is a happy heart; I'm glad for what I have, that's an easy place to start!" 

Thankfulness and being in constant conversation with the Spirit will keep me from being drunk on consumerism, or possessing money, or anything else.

I have been a little stressed this week, and a couple times I've found myself researching the new cell phone options or wanting to go buy a nice coffee drink to make myself feel better. Lord, help me turn to you and to pray; to feast on the Scripture; and to be thankful for what I have already, each time those temptations come my way. Help me to feed my heart on thankfulness so that it grows into the maturity of constant gratefulness--giving thanks to God the Father at all time and for everything!

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