God, not ‘things’ can fulfill needs, yearnings

Voices of Religion

Posted: Friday, November 03, 2006

“Always try to do what is good. In this lies the secret to a happy successful life on earth all in a nutshell,” my Dad said to me when I was a young man.

I thought, “OK Dad, that sounds pretty good.”

Doesn’t that sound like something a father would say to a teenage son?

“Always try to do what is good,” however, is straight out of the Bible — 1 Thessalonians 5:15.

I don’t know about you, but I think Paul hit the nail on the head when he said, “I try to do right, but I do wrong, and when I try not to do wrong, I do it anyway.”

Sound familiar?

“I try to watch what I eat, and I do — pass me another potato please,” or “Officer, I was really tired, but I had to get back home before dark,” after running off the road from falling asleep.

Trying to do what is right is an easy thing, but not so easy if we take our eyes off why we should do what is right.

The Lord tells us to “love not the world nor the things of this world,” in 1 John 2:15.

This is pretty hard. John continues to say, “If you love the world, you show that you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only the lust for physical pleasure, the lust for everything we see and pride in our possessions.

“These are not from the Father. They are from this evil world and this world is fading away, along with everything it craves, but if you do the will of God, you will live forever,” 1 John 2:16-17.

This is really hard, especially for us Americans. It seems that the American way is one of plenty: have it all or nothing. The value of money really is fading away, just like this world.

I had a nephew get married last year on a huge yacht just off Newport Beach, Calif. He rented it for the wedding and reception and paid an arm and a leg for it.

It seems this is the way to go now in Southern California, to really impress everyone.

This year, I had another nephew get married in Southern California, and guess what? He also had his wedding and reception on a huge yacht, only bigger than the one last year.

Why? I think it’s all about the pleasure of impressing others. We’re all guilty in one way or another for the same thing if you think about it.

Don’t we all want more than we have? We see things on TV, in a magazine while waiting in the dentists office or on the Internet and we just want.

It’s the world, folks. That is the influence of the world on our hearts. We are always desiring more than we have. Well, at least I admit I seem to always have this desire to have something that I don’t need.

My wife, Maryna, says to me when we are shopping at Sportsman’s Warehouse, “Do you really need another fishing rod or do you just want another fishing rod?”

Think about it.

We go through life day after day with something screaming inside of us saying, “I want something really bad, so bad that I feel I need it. If I could only figure out what it is that I need.” There lies the answer to our dilemma. What are we really seeking?

Could it be a relationship with the Lord that we have never really had?

Do you ever go to the refrigerator feeling you need something to eat? You open the door and look into shelves of food and nothing looks appetizing? That’s the feeling I’m talking about.

There is a yearning in our hearts that only the Lord Jesus can fill. When we start to get this feeling we need something more than what we have, maybe we need to look deeper.

Jesus said, “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”

When we get this deep feeling of hunger, we can open the mouth of our heart and taste and see that the Lord is good.

Feed on his Word; read some Scripture. Take time, turn off the TV, curl up in a blanket and pick up the Word and read.

Funny, after awhile, that hungry feeling starts to go away. You forget that you had a hunger a moment ago. Something begins to happen inside. You begin to feel good again.

I used to read verses in 1 John where he said, if we loved the world and the things of the world, then the love of the Father is not in us, but if we do the will of the Father, then we will live forever.

In the beginning of the verse, I thought, “Oh no, here comes my condemnation,” but as I read on, I learned there was still hope.

Wow! I just need to find out what the will of the Father is then I can live forever.

Then, I realized, with a relationship with our Lord, we can see that God has a great sense of humor.

He gives us the answer first, then he asks the question to see if we are paying attention. Then he gives us the answer again, just in case we weren’t listening.

So, in other words, if you want to be with the Lord forever in heaven with all the saints, then don’t love the world nor the things in the world.

That’s God’s will for us, plain and simple, cut and dried.

Do not love the world or all the things that are passing away in the world. This is God’s will for us so we can live forever with him in eternal bliss.

Now I know what Dad meant when he said, “Always try to do good.”

Of course, Jesus Christ has made this all possible for us.

Mark Conway is an evangelist living in Seward. He can be reached by e-mail at akmark50 @hotmail.com.

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