Sunday, May 10, 2015

My covetous heart

I have spent most of the past 2 years missing various foods from America. It is so easy for me to justify this coveting in my heart. "We have made sacrifices and given up conveniences to go do what God was calling us to do; just thinking about what we left behind and missing those things is ok." That is what I tell myself. But I am not just periodically thinking about the differences between here and there. I have been coveting. I want what my friends in America have, specifically Dunkin Donuts, Papa Johns, La Parilla chips and cheese dip, crushed ice, and the list goes on. I also covet the fit, beautiful figures of the women who probably don't eat those foods. Irony. 

Even as I am writing about this problem in my heart, I think that it is not that big of a deal. I excuse this covetousness because many of us struggle with it. It is "normal." But God thought it was a big enough deal to include in the 10 commandments. It is in the same list as murder, idolotry, adultery and stealing. It is the last commandment, the "bookend" opposite having no other gods before Him. When I covet something, it has probably taken the place of God in my heart. I think about that "thing" often. I think that "thing" will make me happy. I see pictures of other people on Facebook who have that "thing" and wish it was mine. 

On our first day back in the US, I woke and went to Dunkin Donuts. It was delicious! And it was over in just minutes. I absolutely loved each bite, and it was more delicious than I had remembered, but then it was gone. A donut will never truly satisfy my heart. 

God is slowly teaching me that the only place I can find true joy, peace and contentment is in Him. He alone satisfies my heart. He is there with me in Uganda when I am eating rice and beans and with me in the US when I am eating a delicious Mexican or Italian meal and savoring each bite. I am asking God to give me the perspective of the apostle Paul who says, "I have learned the secret of being content in every situation... whether well fed or hungry, in plenty or in want." (Paraphrase of Phil. 4) 

By the way, we are not going hungry in Uganda. We have many delicious foods there. We eat well and none of us have lost weight. It is just the nature of my heart to want what I don't have. To want what you have. To walk into Publix and want to buy everything that I cannot get in Uganda. To sin through coveting. As I begin to see how quickly my heart runs to other things for comfort, I am even more thankful for Jesus. 

I have a gracious Savior who knows that I often look to food or people or other things to satisfy the place in my heart where only He belongs. That is why He had to die, because my covetous heart separates me from the perfectly holy God of the universe. I have worshiped other, lesser gods. But God still loved me. While I was still putting ridiculous things like comfort and pleasure from food in the place that only He deserves, Jesus died to make me right with the Father. He gave me His perfect record and took the punishment for the sin I deserve. He set me free. He graciously gives me good gifts like delicious food to enjoy, but all the while reminding me that I can only find true lasting joy in Him. As we are here in this "land of plenty" I want to enjoy these good gifts, remembering that they are little blessings from my loving Father. When I can no longer get crushed ice or cheese dip, I hope that I will remember to look to the real source of joy, rather than wishing for things I don't have. I am thankful that I can know that whether I continue to struggle or not, I am loved in Jesus. And for today, I will rest in that. 

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