Author: Dr. Howard M Sarkela
Many are enslaved by their thoughts……..Some enslave themselves with material desire.
Some plan on the acquisition of material goods, and measure progress in life accordingly. Some set goals of accomplishment based on getting stuff..Once we have stuff, we seek to upgrade that stuff which we have. We give the best years of our lives to jobs which return income to us, so that we can acquire more stuff. Some work to have the basic necessities. Some just work, to acquire more stuff and are enslaved by a vicious cycle of working, earning, spending and acquiring more stuff. They have become slaves of material desire. But “stuff” never satisfies. Stuff will never bring love, joy, peace, fulfillment and contentment.
The natural man has a void in his or her life, an empty hole which can never be filled by natural means.
The desire for fulfillment can never be satisfied through attaining material possessions. But, there is a spiritual solution and this solution can only be found in Christ Jesus. Looking to self or to material possessions and physical achievements or temporal accomplishments, will never satisfy and bring ultimate fulfillment to your life.
The void in many people’s lives is a spiritual emptiness that natural man cannot recognize or identify. When a person becomes spiritually enlightened and drawn by Grace into faith, based on believing the Gospel of Christ, he or she then becomes spiritually awakened and aware of the fact that only Christ can fill that emptiness, that void in their lives. Once enlightened by His Grace, Jesus becomes the most important focus and center of our lives. Improving our new personal relationship with Jesus becomes our goal. The idolatry of material desire and pleasing our ego, is no longer the driving force in their lives.
Enslavement by material desire is a sad but common phenomenon which exists because our desires cause us to set material goals and then spend the best hours of life striving for the income to acquire those goals (getting more stuff). All of this leads to more stress and does not bring peace and happiness. The pagan ZEN philosophy is that one should desire to have No desire, that in having No desire, one finds peace. But, in Christian enlightenment, we seek to grow spiritually mature through prayer, and Bible study and fellowship with mature role models in our desire to grow into a deeper, closer personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
In Christ, we learn the importance of surrendering our personal ambition. We seek selflessness and Christlikeness as we learn to die to self. and not to fulfill the desire of the flesh. We must learn to go to the cross and be crucified with Christ (Gal. 2:20) that He may come alive in us and live in and through us. Only then, can His ways become our ways and His thoughts, our thoughts. In fact we must learn to die to self daily… We do this by going to the cross daily. We must learn to know Jesus in the power of His resurrection, and also in fellowship with His sufferings. We are no longer self centered, we become Christ centered.
As Christians, our goals are no longer to please SELF, through focusing on material desire, but to please GOD. We must be seeking to know HIS divine will for our lives and to grow in harmony with HIS plan for our lives in Christ who becomes the head of our lives. Our focus is no longer on acquiring stuff, but on pleasing Jesus.. We do not have to worry about our sustenance for HE has promised to meet our every need. In fact we are taught in HIS word that we will always have all sufficiency in everything…….Jesus said,” Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and then all of these things shall be added unto you “. As children of the King we have been provided for. We need to correct our priorities. Are we living for self, or living for God? Are we living to please self, or living to please God in Christ?
We all know that as Christians, our values have changed, we have become new creatures in Christ, we are different and we have changed our behavior, but we are not perfect, we will still make mistakes and slip back into, old behavior patterns from time. However, Jesus is our good shepherd. He is so very faithful in caring for us and He faithfully sends His Holy Spirit to patiently counsel us and direct us back to the right path.
.As we seek to grow spiritually, He is always there to forgive and teach and guide us by the presence of HIS Holy Spirit. Spiritual growth is now more important than material acquisition…For what does it profits a man, if he gains the whole world, but loses his soul….
As obedient servants of our Lord Jesus, we are no longer enslaved to self by material desire..We are now joyfully enslaved to our great Master and Savior alone. Jesus, alone is worthy of our obedient desire to learn of Him that we many obey Him as Lord and master of our lives. Jesus is our Lord and Master, Jesus is the very image of the invisible God, in whom dwells all of the fullness of the Godhead in bodily form.. Our Lord Jesus said, “Deny yourself, pick up the cross and follow me”….”My yoke is easy and my burden is light”… We are to deny self and follow Him.
Jesus also said, “You shall know the truth and the TRUTH shall set you free”.
What is TRUTH? it is the word of God..Do you want to know the TRUTH? Then study the word of almighty God. Jesus prayed in John 17:17: “Sanctify them in truth father, they WORD is TRUTH”.. Jesus also said, “I am the way, the TRUTH and the life and NO man comes to the father, accept by me”. We become alive as we come into His faith by His Word. We grow from selfishness to selflessness, by the power of His living Word.. He draws us to faith (John 6:44)
The scripture says Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God”. Do you want to be FREE from the bondage and enslavement of material desire? Study His Word, learn it, digest it, live it… He lives in His Word.. His Word will live in you.
Forget what is behind..Strive for the mark, of the high calling of God, in Christ Jesus…
May the Lord bless you as you grow closer to Him as you come to know Him better. Pray to Him constantly, commune with Him. Listen for His direction and guidance in your life.
Obey Him. He alone is worthy.