Summary: Luxury: comfort, ease, plenty and blaming God when our expectations are not met. What do we do when the foundations of our expectations crumble
‘Seven Deadly Sins…and what to do about them’ series
Good morning church. We’ve been looking at some deadly sins—not because they’re worse than other sins necessarily. All sin separates us from God, right? But the sins we are talking about in this series go to our moral character. They are the kinds of sins that easily trip us up and are so subtle sometimes—its hard to always recognize when we are slipping toward one of these.
We’ve looked at Pride—often called the daddy of them all, and some feel that all the other sins flow from pride. And last week we looked at greed and the problems it causes. You don’t have to be wealthy to be greedy. In fact, many a poor person deals with greed. Today, I want to take a departure from the traditional 7 deadly sins, to address a sin of our culture which I’ll call Luxury.
Now, I am not talking mansions, Bentleys, private jets and expensive jewelry—although the running after these kinds of things can be contrary to God’s purpose for you and his calling on your life. No, I am defining luxury in this way: comfort, ease, plenty and blaming God when our demands and expectations are not met.
I venture to say, that if you’ve walked with God long enough, you’ve encountered a moment like this. Where you’ve been righteous and you’ve prayed, and you were just sure God was going to come through—and then he didn’t—or at least not in the way you thought. And at first, you were confused, then a bit disillusioned, and then sometimes even angry with God. Why didn’t he come through?!
Why wasn’t my dad’s cancer healed? Why can’t I find a job that actually pays the bills? Why can’t I find a faithful loving mate? Why am I always having money problems? I’ve prayed! I’ve been faithful—I DESERVE TO BE HAPPY. See, that’s the root of it isn’t it? This deadly sin is an offshoot to pride, but it’s a feeling of entitlement. And when we don’t get what we think we DESERVE from God, we can have one or more of these responses:
1. We feel that God is not powerful enough to provide what we need / what we expect
2. We feel that God is not good…that he’s unwilling to meet our expectations
3. We believe we have sinned and God is withholding his blessing (always good to check on this one) or…
4. We can respond in faith, believing God for what he promised, trusting him even when he doesn’t meet my expectations.
It’s about right-sizing our expectations isn’t it. Many of you have seen the 80’s film, Christmas Vacation. Poor Clark W. Griswold gets his expectations way ahead of what can actually happen, and he’s always disappointed isn’t he? Because that’s the issue isn’t it?
What we expect: We expect smooth sailing. We expect that God is going to snow plow the roads of life of any obstacle or hardship. We have bought into the lie of satan that says, if God REALLY loved me, he’d fix all this stuff in my life. Yeah, we know this life has trivial problems and challenges, but as a believer, we think somehow that we should get a hall pass in the school of hard knocks. That’s what many Christians expect. And the reality is,
What we deserve: We deserve death, punishment and separation from God. Romans 3:23 declares that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 6:23 tells us that that the wages (or natural results) of sin are death—spiritual death.
In our Oasis Bible study this week, I was reminded of the parable of the prodigal son that Jesus told. This son asks for his inheritance before the father was ever dead—shocking--, went off and blew it all on wild partying and the like. And when his friends all deserted him, he had to get a job feeding pigs—also shocking to Jesus audience since these were not clean kosher animals. And then the realization hits him. I have sinned away my rights as a son. I am starving—literally. I will return to my father’s house and ask to be a servant. Really and truly, on our best days, we should only expect to be God’s servants. We don’t deserve anything else. But the reality is, we get…
What we get: We get adopted! We get received back into the arms of the father! He forgives. He restores. He wont even let us get out that we would like to be his servant, because he’s putting his robe on our backs, and his ring on our finger. He’s directing the servants to kill the fatted calf because the one who was lost is now found. The one separated from the Father has now returned. Forgiven, clean and free.