Friday, October 31, 2008

Student Devotions - Remember The Cost

Have you ever wanted something bad enough you could taste it? Of course that is just an expression but most of us have had that sense of overwhelming desire for something. Most of us are passionate creatures who over time have learned proper social graces to cover up the tantrums that we once had as three year olds. You remember, before you were taught how to control the expression of your desires, you would throw your entire passion into your demands for what you wanted?

There are things that our bodies, hearts, and minds crave that require us to use a great deal of self discipline to deny ourselves. Sometimes it can be as simple as friendship. Not all friendship is good for us. We realize that certain people could lead us to our destruction, so even if we find ourselves attracted to them we deny our need for friendship in order to preserve our life. This takes maturity and sometimes bad experiences to learn.

There are other examples that are clearer for us, such as cheating or stealing to get what we want. There is a whole list of things that the Apostle Paul gives when he says that we were once like that but now we have been changed and we live with a different purpose. Understanding and remembering that purpose helps us to avoid being attracted back to what we once were. It is not awlays easy, especially if we have allowed ourselves to become spiritually weak. This happens when we neglect spiritual things such as Bible Study, like-minded friends, worhsip and prayer. Then we find the pull of these things becoming stronger and we spend more time thinking about them.

In today's reading we find a new nation in this circumstance. In Numbers 11 we find people thinking back to their days in Egypt, when they had more to eat than just Manna. Look carefully at their words:

The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, "If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost--also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!"

Due to their stomachs they lost sight of where they were going, could only consider the immediate moment, and started desiring what once they had. It is at this moment that the former things begin to look better than they were. Old times seem so much better than the reality of what they were. Things we experienced seem to become even better. Look at this: "... we ate in Egypt at no cost ..." Are they kidding? They ate those things at the cost of slavery. They ate those things at the cost of back breaking work as they laboured under the whip of their task master. This is how sin is with us as well.

Sin is always attractive. Even if we have learned not to through tantrums to get what we want, we still experience attraction to sin, especially when we are weak. We do not consider the cost of having what we crave. The reason we set aside the cost is because we do not consider that we will seriously possess it. We allow ourselves to think about it with no real hope of having it. It becomes a fantasy that we never hope to have. But that begins to shape us, the way we see things, how we act. Before long opportunities start presenting themselves. The full desire is there without thought to the cost.

The fact is, if we really want to go back to Egypt God will not stop us. If we really want to go back to slavery God will not stop us. If we really want to be possessed by sin again God will not prevent it. He has provided the way out. He is providing for us today. He completely loves us. However, just like the father of the prodical son, he will not stop us if we are determined. He has given us freedom of choice.

Beware! You can possess what you desire but what you desire can also possess you. Make the desire of your heart Jesus Christ every single day of your life and you will never find yourself desiring to go back to Egypt. Remember the cost.


Brandon said...

Sometimes when we want something very bad but have it some people would do anything to have what they want. The devil finds these people and takes hold of this oppertunity and start tempting them. We must be happy with what we have at the moment.

Olivia said...

I don't think I had temper tantrums. I do kind of have to steal a bit of what Brandon said, we should be happy with what we have.

Niki said...

I never noticed that line. How they say that they had all that food for no cost. Of course there was a cost! This example could sound so obvious, but there are things in our lives that are even more obvious. We just ignore it, and say everything is fine. We need to look at these things and get rid of them.

Ray said...

There is really only one thing that we should crave so much. And it's really too bad that not even all Christians do. If we craved Christ this much, we would love him, and therefore be like him, and sin would be that much less attractive.

Naomi S. said...

At no cost? At NO cost? Were those people looney? That cost them very much! But I guess it's understandable why they said that. Sin is big and sin is bad. Uber bad. But they must have really REALLY been craving that food again to not remember the cost of it. :S
Sometimes, the cravings we have for something is for something that isnt actually bad or even something we are told we are not allowed to have by our parents/teachers/Pastors, sometimes its just something that WE told OURSELVES that we were not going to have. At least, not until we hit 18 that is. :)

Jason said...

man sometimes it scares me how true this stuff is. I have little brothers and sisters that still have tantrums and i guess i've seen it so often that i started to get kinda out of control when i don't get what i want but i'm working on it

Jonathan Fortin said...

I guess the Israelites forgot that God was taking them somewhere that would have all those foods they wanted. The Mana was just a transit food to get them there.

I am glad to have parents who help to restrain me when there is something I want that I shouldn't have. I do agree that we tend to explain our desires away by telling ourselves that we will probably never get what we want, anyway, and then the opportunities that show up seem like a dream come true. It's a dream that would turn into a nightmare, though.

Jesus Freak said...

I have always seen little kids throw tantrums if the dont get what they want.I agree with Rachel I guess well all should be craving for God and craving for God's word.

Sinead Roy said...

I think the craving for Egypt comes when we seek 'freedom' rather than God Himself. Seeking to be free from all consequences of choice is just ...well..can I say dumb! Choosing a relationship with Jesus above all other things - now THAT'S a smart choice.