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Examine Your Excess

It’s been said about the stuff you find in garage sales that “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Conversely, that would mean that one man’s treasure is another man’s trash. Garage-sale treasures aside — is the same true for God-given treasures? Do we turn things that God intended as treasures into something less appealing? I believe we do; we take things that God intended for good and trash them or abuse them until that good pleasure becomes a prison.

Our “prison cells” are lush. They’re cushioned with lots of our favorate foods and a well-stocked liquor or medicine cabinet. To drown out the sounds of true hunger, we fill them with all manner of noisy and absorbing distractions. The bars on our prison cells are made from the relationships we enter into and the possessions we purchase.

We easily find ourselves imprisoned by those very things that are often no problem for someone else.

We each tend to harbor one or more secret activity or behavior that we just can’t seem to get enough of. This “never enough” activity becomes our absolute necessity, our reward, our coping mechanism. We need (or so we think) this activity to insulate ourselves from the world. Because this world can be a pretty tough place, we need a lot of insulation.

In moderation and proper context, this “never enough” activity or behavior can even be a good thing.  Problems arise when we think that a little of this feels good, so a lot should feel even better. But, as the verses from Haggai warn, it doesn’t. This, however, doesn’t stop us from trying — hard. Pretty soon, our “never enough” activity is the wheel in the case, and we’ve become the rodent … running and running and running but ultimately going nowhere.

Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.” ~Haggai 1:5-6

SOURCE: Chapter 2, “Examine Your Excess,” in Gotta Have It! by Gregory L. Jantz, PhD., founder of The Center for Counseling and Health Resources Inc.

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