I recently bought myself a new umbrella. That's not unusual, but what IS unusual is the lesson that the Lord taught me through this recent purchase. I was browsing around a local drug store one evening, when I came upon an umbrella like I'd never seen before. Instead of having an ordinary handle, it was fashioned into the head of a duck. I was mesmerized. I picked it up, and held it in my hands, and I marveled at its charming qualities. Since my family and I have been raising pet ducks, I've had a special place in my heart for almost anything with a duck theme. My loved ones know it, and they've showered me with so many duck-related gifts that my office at home is literally filled with them. The price of this umbrella was higher than I normally spend on an item like this, so I hesitated to purchase it. Even so, the next thing I knew, I was paying the cashier for the umbrella, and walking out of the store with a big grin on my face.
Later that night, the Lord spoke to my heart: "When you bought that umbrella for yourself tonight, you robbed your loved ones of the joy of giving it to you as a gift. And you robbed yourself of the joy of receiving it as a gift from them. It's the same with you and Me. When you don't ask Me for the desires of your heart - when you don't wait on Me to give them to you as a gift - you rob Me of the joy I'd get from blessing you, and you rob yourself of the joy of receiving My blessings." My heart sank. I knew exactly what the Lord meant when He impressed this message upon my heart, and I immediately felt ashamed and remorseful.
One thing I've learned about God while walking with Him so closely all these years, is that He loves to indulge His children. When we live our lives for Him - loving Him, seeking Him, and serving Him with all our hearts - He will richly bless us. (Proverbs 28:20) But He doesn't want us to indulge ourselves. He wants us to ask Him for the desires of our hearts, and then trust Him to provide them for us according to His perfect will and timing. If we continue to ask, and He doesn't answer, it means one of two things: either it's not the right time, or He's got something even better in mind for us - something we don't have the wisdom to ask Him for.
The Scriptures reveal that self-indulgence is offensive to God. In Matthew 23:25 (NIV), Jesus condemned the Pharisees for being "full of greed and self-indulgence". (Matthew 23:25 NIV) The Savior doesn't want us grasping for things. Instead, He says: "Ask, using My name, and you will receive, and your cup of joy will overflow." (John 16:24 TLB) David wrote: "Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart." (Psalm 37:4 NIV) If we will devote ourselves to the Lord and delight in doing His will, He will GIVE us the desires of our hearts. If we will take this promise to heart, we won't be tempted to TAKE the desires of our hearts apart from God's perfect will and timing. Having the right attitude about these matters will help us to avoid the kind of self-indulgence that could lead to wrong relationships, poor health, and burdensome debt.
I keep my "ducky" umbrella next to the desk in my office. It's a constant reminder of the Lord's eagerness to bless me, if I will only look to Him, and wait upon Him, to give me the desires of my heart. Today, I encourage you to put your wholehearted trust "in the living God who always richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment"! (1 Timothy 6:17 TLB)
Prayer: Lord, forgive me for those times when I indulged myself, instead of waiting for You to indulge me. Help me to believe the truth - that You always have my best interests at heart, and that You always give me what I really need and want. Thank You that as I wait upon Your will and timing, I will live a full, satisfying, and blessed life in every way!
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