Introduction to HABITS: It’s obvious that our personal choices shape our lives. But what may not be so obvious is the extreme power of habits that have broad reaching for not only our own lives, but our families lives, our friends, community and church. Small decisions compounded over time can bring health or disease, peace or stress, friendship or isolation. When we examine the Bible we see up close the power that these habits can have. Join us this Sunday as we continue this new series. Along the way, we will discover how the habits of Jesus’ followers are better than the habits of our modern world. These small habits can literally change our lives for the good.
Small healthy decisions repeated over time reap grand rewards in surprising ways.
So, how does Jesus teach us to handle our material possessions?
1. Don’t store up massive amounts of stuff – Matthew 6:19-21
- Why not? Because of the…
- Forces of Nature
- Forces of the Elements
- Force of a Robber
- θησαυρίζω (thēsaurízō)
- To gather and lay up, to heap up, store up to accumulate riches, to keep in store, store up, reserve.
- The problem is not having stuff.
- The problem is not enjoying stuff.
- The problem is pursing so much MORE for only ME.
Why stuff doesn’t lead to happiness:
- They all begin to fade.
- There is always something new right around the corner
- Each purchase adds extra worry to our lives.
- Our purchases cost us more than we realize.
- We discover other people aren’t all that impressed.
- Someone else always has more.
- Contentment of this kind only pauses the wanting for a brief time
2. Store up treasures in Heaven – Matthew 6:20; 1 Timothy 6:17-19
What if your experience of Heaven for all eternity would be enhanced by your temporary generosity here on earth?
Activate your generosity by spending less on yourself.
WRONG: I would give more if I had more.
CORRECT: I can give more because I spend less.
Consider the power of PAUSE!
TALK IT OUT:
- Consider these two quote, the first is from Edward Louis Bernays, the father of public relations, “…We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of.” Now contrast Bernay’s statement with one by author Richard Foster, “We crave things we neither need nor enjoy. ‘We buy things we do not want to impress people we do not like.’ …It is time to awaken to the fact that conformity to a sick society is to be sick.” Ask yourself this question; How does advertising and the media impact your thinking each week?
- Matthew 6:19 makes the point that we aren’t to store up massive amounts of stuff because what we own can be destroyed or taken. We all know the things we treasure don’t last, but we still tend to cling to them. Why do you think we do that? What are one or two things you are tempted to cling to?
- Scripture makes the point that the issue isn’t having stuff, or enjoying stuff, but selfishly pursuing more and more things. How can we fight our tendency to accumulate more and more stuff for ourselves?
- Pastor Rusty makes the point that accumulating more and more doesn’t lead to more happiness. You probably agree with him, but when you honestly evaluate your actions are you living with godly perspective when it comes to your possessions?
- Matthew 6:20 says we’re to store up treasure in heaven. How can we to do that?
- In 1 Timothy 6:17 the Apostle Paul says we aren’t to put our hope in our wealth, but we’re to instead place our hope in God who richly provides for us. How can we quit putting our hope in our possessions? How can we increase our hope in God?
LIVE IT OUT:
- We need to activate our generosity so we spend less on ourselves. Make a list of any areas where you think you spend too much on yourself. Select at least one area from your list where you will cut back on your personal spending.
- Pastor Rusty suggests we ask ourselves this question, “What if your experience of Heaven for all eternity would be enhanced by your temporary generosity here on earth?” Where are you going to be more generous in the future?
- Do you think God is satisfied with your giving? If not, what do you need to change about the way or amount you give?
- Take a few moments to ask God to help you become more disciplined in your spending. Then, pray for help to become more generous in your giving to God and others.