Putting “Stuff” in Perspective
By Joyce Meyer
I have always said that God wants us to have His best. His Word says that if we put Him first in our thoughts and priorities, He will throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out His blessings on us (Malachi 3:10 NIV). And Matthew 6:33 tells us if we seek God first, then He will provide everything we need. He wants us to have and enjoy nice things. But He doesn’t want things to have us.
We should never let material things get ahead of God or become so important in our lives that we can’t walk away from them if He tells us to. Anything you own that has a hold on you is a problem.
Too many of us are addicted to “stuff.” How many people don’t have time for God because they have to work two jobs to keep up the payments on their boats, cars and flat screen TVs? How many of us have purchased things we didn’t need and couldn’t afford just because everyone else was doing the same thing?
Things in themselves have no life in them. A car can’t comfort or encourage you. A house means nothing if there’s no life and love inside. Things cannot keep you happy. You may get an emotional thrill when you first buy something, but emotions are fickle. You buy that one thing you think will complete your happiness, but after awhile the feeling goes away and you have to go to the next thing. You just keep going from purchase to purchase looking for the one thing that will finally satisfy. But stuff can’t satisfy. Only God can.
We must remind ourselves that we are stewards, not owners. Everything we “own” should be available to God to bless and minister to other people. I remember a time years ago when somebody gave me a rhinestone bracelet that I thought was really pretty. I just loved that bracelet. After I had it awhile, God started nudging me to give it to someone in particular. I made all kinds of excuses to myself for not giving it to her…her wrist is too thin…she wears gold not silver…and on and on. (It’s so easy to defend our selfishness!)
Finally, reluctantly, I gave it to her telling her how hard it was to give it up, but that God had told me to. Every time I’d see her wear it, I just had to say something about it. Anyway, a month went by and I think she got tired of hearing me talk about it and said, “I believe God wants me to give this back to you.” I was so happy to get it back. But whenever I would start to put it on after that, it didn’t appeal to me anymore. I just didn’t like it. God taught me a powerful lesson through that experience. He told me, Once I tell you to give something away, it no longer belongs to you, and if you keep it after that, it will never give you joy.
Giving away that bracelet was a test. There are two tests you have to pass concerning money and things: how you act when you don’t have any, and how you act when you have a lot. He will place people in your path who have exactly what you want. Or He’ll ask you to give away something you love—and maybe to someone you don’t even like. God tests all of us from time to time because He knows that it will help us grow in our relationship with Him and be able to really enjoy the abundant life Jesus died to give us as we learn to do what He’s asking us to do with a good attitude.
If God is number one in your life, there will be evidence of it in how you use your time and your money. Keep things in their right place. Don’t ever let them get ahead of God.
Deuteronomy 8:6-9 (NIV) says, “Observe the commands of the Lord your God, walking in obedience to him and revering him. For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land—a land with brooks, streams, and deep springs gushing out into the valleys and hills… a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing….
God wants to bless us, and He will give us everything we need if we will just put Him first. We are nothing without Him, and nothing we have will bring us real joy without Him. The day that God led me to understand this, was one of the best days of my life.
For more on this topic, order Joyce’s four-CD series Making Good Habits, Breaking Bad Habits. You can also contact us to receive our free magazine, Enjoying Everyday Life, by calling (800) 727-9673 or visiting www.joycemeyer.org.
Ladies, join Joyce Meyer for the 30th Anniversary Love Life Women’s Conference September 20-22 in Saint Louis, MO. For more information, go to www.joycemeyer.org/womensconference.
Joyce Meyer is a New York Times bestselling author and founder of Joyce Meyer Ministries, Inc. She has authored more than 90 books, including Battlefield of the Mind and Do Yourself a Favor…Forgive (Hachette). She hosts the Enjoying Everyday Life radio and TV programs, which air on hundreds of stations worldwide. For more information, visit www.joycemeyer.org.
Please note: The views and opinions expressed throughout this publication and/or website are those of the respective authors and do not necessarily reflect those of Joyce Meyer Ministries.