Delayed Gratification is Still Coveting


How long is your wish list? When you see something that you want at a store, do you buy it right away, or do you wait and pray about whether God wants you to have it or not?

I used to go the mall with my best friend, looking through the store windows. I would see a pair of black lace-up boots that would look lovely with a dress I had. So I would go inside, only to find out they cost over $100. Oh, well, I thought to myself. Some day when I’m rich…

But even though I delayed my gratification, I still coveted those boots. Just because I didn’t plunge myself into debt doesn’t mean that I didn’t covet those boots just as much as the woman who did purchase them. Yes, wisdom dictates waiting before purchasing a larger-ticket item, especially if you can’t afford it. But then you think, “What if I come back and they’re all gone?” Does that line of thinking justify my purchase?

On the other hand, God is a loving God who lavishes gifts on us. Time after time God has provided extreme luxuries for me just suddenly out of the blue, providing miraculously something I didn’t deserve. Like the anniversary trip to the Bahamas, where I got the tickets dirt cheap because it was hurricane season. And then instead of vomiting the entire time (which I was expecting due to the weather forecast), God put His hands around the ship and gave us sunshine all day every single day. God is rich. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills, and He owns me. He owns the hurricanes and storms that were all over the radar, making my sister wring her hands as she prayed for me.

I thought about the thousands of people who died in Japan and Haiti because of a tsunami or an earthquake. The weather <BOOM> killed thousands in one moment. And yet God protected one ship in the middle of a radar with red swirls everywhere. Did God sweetly protect our ship just for Alan and me, because we needed rest so badly after a sad year of suffering? Did my cry reach the ears of God, and did He alter the weather just for me?

Yes, I believe He did. My God controls everything. He rules. Not a single atom is out of His control at any moment.

So God is lavish, even though He sometimes allows us to go through horrendous suffering. I’m not saying that God is stingy, or that you have to have a poverty mentality where you can never have anything you want, hanging your head in a resigned manner. No.

But the vast majority of the things we covet aren’t even what God would want for us. The bigger TV only causes us to spend more time with our idolatry. The cute clothes make us look in the mirror and have vanity. The gorgeous house makes us look at other people’s houses with contempt, because we have better taste.

Our goal in life becomes the accumulation of more and more pieces of matter, arranged carefully around us. The pieces of junk magnify our sin, or they create new areas of sin. They are just pieces of matter that will be burned up at the end of the world. They distract us from our relationship with our Creator.

So are you content? How long is your wish list? Where is your heart?

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2 Responses to “Delayed Gratification is Still Coveting”

  1. varunner7 says:

    I’ve been in a good place here lately (the past 6 months or so), where I don’t want anything. But things have a way of shifting, so feeling this way probably won’t last forever, and at some point there will be something I want.

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