Summary: Conforming to the image of Christ in our attitude with our loved ones.
Definition: To give free reign to; to gratify one’s own appetites, desires, pleasures or whims
In what areas do people (you) self-indulge? Typical responses will be in material things, food, drink, gambling, and entertainment – addictive type activity.
Did you know that quarreling is self-indulgent? You quarrel and fight among yourselves because you do not have what you want. According to James 4:1 quarreling is due to passions that are at war within us. Is that power fueling your fight? Or could it be pride? Maybe validation or acknowledgement has been withheld and how does that make you feel? Want to pick a fight because you’re in a bad mood today? This is when we indulge our own whims. Mom’s, heads up on this one. Do you find yourself losing your temper easily with your children – it’s much easier to just let loose than to take that time out. No time for a time out? Maybe it’s time to rearrange your priorities. Boss, do you find yourself losing your patience with your employees? Maybe it’s time to delegate some of that responsibility.
How about procrastination? Without accountability there is no motive to accomplish. So you indulge your sense of “I don’t feel like doing that right now”. What are you waiting for and from who comes your reward and to whom are you accountable, if not yourself? Your character is lacking and so is your maturity. (OUCH!!!!)
Busy, busy, busy bee. Yes, bees work very hard – to provide for their loved ones. If you are having trouble saying no then you are indulging yourself. Why say yes when what you really want to say is no? I can think of two reasons, both self-indulgent. The first is because you don’t want people to think ill of you – seeking praise from men would be the culprit in this scenario. The second is because you don’t think anyone else can do the job except you and pride would be this demon’s name. In reality, someone else may do it differently than you, and maybe even not quite as well, but so what? Why deny someone else the opportunity to contribute. I know couples that get into arguments because one spouse doesn’t think the other pulls weeds correctly. And then the critical spouse complains because no help is volunteered for other tasks…duh!
We walk a tightrope all through our lives – as did Christ. Many demands on his time, yes, but at times he went off by himself because he knew times of refreshing were necessary. You cannot get water from a dry well – how dry is yours? Christ said “no” when it was detrimental to his primary task. Should we not do the same? In Acts 10:9, Peter went up on a housetop to pray. He got off by himself and meditated before God and received his vision that allowed him to baptize Cornelius and the household there. We cannot HEAR God if we do not take the time to LISTEN to Him.
So much to do and so little time to do it, no wonder it seems so easy to put off some things until later. Yet we are never promised a tomorrow. And it is in the tasks in which we are least confident or that we enjoy the least that we procrastinate. Maturity goes ahead and does it anyway – turn drudgery into character and lack of confidence into trust in the Lord’s ability to lead you through seas of uncertainty. Remember Moses and his reluctance to lead the Israelites from captivity? How about Gideon, who called himself one of the least from the smallest clan of Israel, yet through trust in God he was able to become a leader. It is God who gives us the abilities to accomplish our responsibilities.
Why do we lose our tempers with those who are closest to us? Because they are easy targets and we can get away with rude behavior. They have no choice but to live with us and we know they will love us anyway. We indulge our frustrations on our children (be honest, how many of the times that you have you lost your temper with your children was because of pressure you were feeling that has nothing to do with them?) Unfortunately my answer to that one was usually.
The same is true with our spouses. While there are some truly crucial issues that all spouses must work through, there usually is no reason to be quarreling about them at all. We need to learn to work out our differences and problems in a spirit of truth and unity.
I heard Dr. Phil say that when you argue in front of your children that it changes who they are – we damage their self-esteem and teach them patterns of behavior that are not healthy for relationships. What is all this fighting for? We should be setting the example by openly and calmly discussing the issues and working through them without all the hassle. Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord.