When “enough” becomes “too much”…
Week 26 – Celebrating 100 Years of Oswald Chambers
SCRIPTURE: “If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.” Matthew 5:30
OSWALD: “Jesus did not say that everyone must cut off his right hand, but that ‘if your right hand causes you to sin’ in your walk with Him, then it is better to ‘cut it off.’ There are many things that are perfectly legitimate, but if you are going to concentrate on God you cannot do them. Your right hand is one of the best things you have, but Jesus says that if it hinders you in following His precepts, then ‘cut it off.’ The principle taught here is the strictest discipline or lesson that ever hit humankind.” – (My Utmost For His Highest, June 29th)
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TODAY’S GUEST: I’m excited to have my friend, Jana Kennedy-Spicer sharing her “My Utmost” insights today. Jana shares the truth of the gospel through her beautiful writing, art, and graphics. I know you’ll enjoy her inspiring words!
How It Spoke to Jana…
Sometimes I have a problem with enough. I mean, how much IS enough? And how much is too much? And at what point does something good turn into something not good, or even sin?
I love to read. Can I read too much? Can reading lead me in to sin?
I love to listen to music. Can music lead me in to sin?
I love crafting and art journaling, surely this could not lead me to sin?
Oh and food, I loooove food! Can dessert really be sinful?
It would be wonderful if somewhere there was this master list for the universe that made it very clear where the line was between enough and too much.
But we don’t have this. And the truth is, that number where enough turns into too much is different for everyone, especially when we begin considering addictions and disorders. Sometimes, many times, simply one of something is too much.
I believe we all face this question of “what is enough” on a daily basis, even hourly; at least I know I do.
In his letter to the church in Corinth, Paul recognized that they were facing this issue also.
“All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.” 1 Corinthians 6:12
The church was struggling with the new way in Christ of grace vs law. They had been used to following the letter of the Old Testament law, which was very specific, but now had freedom from the law through grace from Christ. Paul was warning the church that just because some thing had now become available to them, or legal, through grace, they were to proceed with caution and not become enslaved or mastered by anything.
This word of caution is still relevant to us today. So many good and wonderful things God has made available to us, even provided through blessings; but can these things become too much? Can something God meant for good actually lead to sin?
Let’s take a look at a few things which are good and lawful for us and see how we can wrongly take good things beyond the boundary of God’s will.
Physical rest (can become) Laziness
Ability to profit Greed
Enjoyment of life Self-indulgence
Physical pleasure Sensuality
Enjoyment of food Gluttony
Loving kindness Over-protection
This list only expands when we begin to consider many of our current advances in technology, like the internet and social media. And you may we thinking of so many more. God may be speaking to you right now about an area in your life which is moving close to “not being beneficial” or maybe has progressed “beyond the boundary of God’s will” – a friendship, a relationship, a TV program, a regular hang-out, a hobby even.
For me, one of those areas was music. I love listening to and singing along with the radio, my cds and downloaded music. And this Texas girl has always loved country music. But God began convicting me about the messages in many songs, the lyrics or situations I was singing along with were not glorifying God. I felt convicted to switch my radio station to one which played Christian music.
At first, I couldn’t sing along because I was not familiar with most of the songs, but after listening for several days, the songs began to imprint my heart. Thirty days in, I was singing along in my car! And friend, something amazing happened that I never anticipated. My attitude changed. My drive to and from work became enjoyable. My mood when I arrived at work was much better. My language with my co-workers changed dramatically.
Did all of this happen just because I changed my radio station? Yes, I believe so. In a sense, I had “cut off the hand that was causing me to sin” – I had exchanged spending time being infused with worldly thoughts and attitudes for time spent worshiping the Lord through music.
There are many things that are perfectly legitimate, but if you are going to concentrate on God you cannot do them. There are a hundred and one things that you dare not do – things that would be sin for you and would be recognized as sin by those who really know you. But the unspiritual people around you will say, “What’s so wrong with doing that? How absurd you are!” …. see that you don’t use your restrictions to criticize someone else.– Oswald Chambers
- Am I loving my blessings more than the One who blesses?
- Am I spending more time with things rather than with God?
- Am I using what God provides for His glory or for my own?
Lord, help me make right decisions about what you would have me do. Give me guidance and help keep me from getting distracted by good things in my life and the blessings you provide. Remind me that just because I can do something does not mean that I should. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Seven Verses to Encourage the Strictest Discipline
Jana has created a beautiful printable with seven verses to help us cultivate “The Strictest Discipline.” Click to DOWNLOAD HERE.
More About Jana
Jana Kennedy-Spicer is a wife, mom and Nana who is passionate about inspiring and encouraging women on their daily walk with Christ. A woman rescued and repaired by the grace of God, she loves to share about the realness of God’s love, redemption and faithfulness. Embarking on a new life journey, she is dedicated to using her blogging, Bible teaching, writing, photography, artwork and graphic designs to bring glory to the Lord.
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I’d love to hear from you…How do you discern when something “permissible” is no longer “beneficial” for you?