Store-Bought, Whaaat? Part 2

Store-Bought, what? Part TwoYesterday, I wrote about my conundrum at the store to “go store-bought” or make something homemade for a recent dinner with friends, the encouraging post I read that influenced my decision to choose the former, and my frustration with the struggle to give up what I want in each moment for what is best.

I’ve found that the struggle usually boils down to a few core issues for me, and I’ve received immense hope and freedom in applying the gospel to each case:

  1.  I am concerned with what others think of me.  I care about what they will say when I walk through the doors of their house with a food item from the store.  I want people to see the effort I put into making something for them, and to praise me for it.  Like a Pharisee, I crave man’s approval.  But oh, what freedom lies within the redemptive message of the gospel!  It is the Good News that says Christ died, suffered the wrath of God, and defeated the grave so that I could wear His approval before God the Father FOREVER (Rom. 5: 1, 9-11).  And since the just and merciful Judge’s approval is all that really matters (Luke 12: 4,5), I need not be concerned with others’ opinion of me.  My life is no longer about seeking man’s approval; rather, I am now concerned with living for the One whose approval is mine forever because of Christ (Gal. 1:10).
  2.  I want to show the people in my life that I love and care for them.  I want to show my husband how much I appreciate him, so I go out of my way to write him love notes that he can read at lunchtime.  I want him to know that I’m thinking of him, so I try to put together food I know he’ll love.  I want him to come home to a peaceful haven, so I do my best to clean the house and keep things organized.  I want my friends to know I care for them, so I try to make yummy food for them to enjoy. Certainly, these are worthy endeavors and good motivations.  But there are limitations to what can be accomplished each day, and so discernment must be used.  The question must be answered: “What is most important right now?”  and the gospel must be applied.  And since the gospel says that I have the One approval that matters above all else; I am free {from} living for others’ approval and free {to} genuinely love people, thinking of what is in their best interest, and then doing my best to work that out in the leading of the Spirit and by His strength (Eph. 5: 17,18; Phil. 2:3-8; 1 Peter 4:10,11).
  3.  I want what I want.  I enjoy trying to make occasions special and memorableStore-Bought, what? Part Two for people.  I love cooking and creating something beautiful out of a mixture of ingredients. I believe there is nothing inherently wrong with such desires, but when they become ultimate above living for the One who purchased me for Himself (1 Cor. 6:19), and the driving force behind my choices?  Well, that is idolatry.  It is living out of the belief that I need something outside of Christ to fulfill me, or to give me joy and purpose in life or {fill in the blank} with whatever it is I think I need beside Him.  The Good News, however, declares that in Christ, I have all that I need!  In Him, I am royalty because I belong to the King who owns all things (1 Cor. 4:8, Eph. 2:4-8).  The Good News is that His Spirit now lives in me, empowering me to say “No” to idolatrous desires and to rest in the unlimited resources of my Savior.  And resting in His resources causes me to overflow with generosity toward those around me (2 Cor. 9: 10,11) as opposed to living for selfish purposes (Gal. 5:13, 1 Peter 2:16).
  4.  I am idealistic and desire to “have it all”.   I have heard it said before that we’re all trying to make our way back to Eden, back to the way it was in the beginning when mankind was perfect and had unbroken fellowship with God and with one another.  We’re not there anymore because sin entered the world through man when he believed the lies that he knew better than God and that there was something outside of Him that he needed.  As a result of the first sin, the world lies in disorder, and nothing is perfect anymore.  But knowing these truths does not stop me from wanting everything to be “just right”.  What hope from the gospel is found here?  I’ve found three foundational truths stemming from the Good News that comfort my heart when I’m yearning for the ideal circumstances:

    • First, the gospel says that while sin brings devastation and death, Christ has brought redemption to His people.  Therefore, in situations in which I’m reminded of the brokenness of all things, I can rejoice in the redemption that is mine in Christ.  In ALL circumstances, I can rejoice in {Him}.
    • Secondly, the continuing message for believers in Christ is that God uses ALL things to work out what is for our good and His glory (Genesis 50:20; Rom. 8:28,29)!  Knowing that God has the ability to use even brokenness and evil for my good brings much hope to me in situations that seem devoid of it.
    • Third of all is the gospel proclamation that the Savior will one day return for His bride.  Perfection and unbroken union with God and man will eventually be restored to the new heavens and the new earth that God establishes for His people!  So when my world appears to be crumbling around me, I can anticipate with great joy and expectancy the time when Christ will restore all things.  ALL. THINGS.  {He is coming.}
click photo for image source
click photo for image source

The gospel is the announcement that “we are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope (Timothy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage),” and within this message lie deep, soul-changing truths that shed light on my sin, teach me to discern between what is good and what is best for each circumstance in life, and point me to the only real Hope and Satisfaction to be found. In having this Hope and Satisfaction (namely, Christ), I am enabled by His Spirit to kill sinful desires/choices and to choose what is best out of love.  {This} is why I can choose store-bought over homemade.

Do you ever have a difficult time choosing to do the right thing over what your heart wants?  What are the motivations behind your desires, and how does the message of the Gospel help you in such circumstances?

P.S. I fail in this endeavor to discern what is best over what is good and to choose the best over what I want {a lot}, by the way, which is one reason why I find such a necessity to constantly bring myself back to the foundational truths of the Gospel.  I still need to be reminded of the Truth of the Good News because I forget so easily, I believe that I will never exhaust the riches of wisdom that lie within the confines of this message (Col. 2:2,3), and I believe that true inside-out transformation happens as we grasp to greater depths the understanding of who Christ is and what He has accomplished for His people.  Do you agree?  Why or why not?