Each year, we look forward to our festival of Thanksgiving in America. Being with family and celebrating God’s blessings with visits, delicious food, family activities, and other fun. We have so much – both spiritual and physical — to be grateful for!
In the same way, giving gifts to friends and family for the Christmas season is a nice tradition. However, it has become a tremendous stress to many people as the holiday season becomes more and more packed with activities. Additionally, we’ve just taken time to be thankful for what we already have — before rushing out to load up with more “things”.
How much is too much? What would God say about the focus moving from celebrating Jesus’s birth to the desire for more stuff?
We can learn a lot from the Bible about self-control… and the sad consequences of the lack thereof.
Freedom through Christ
As Christians, we have the great joy to live with the Holy Spirit as our guide. That means “the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). Those are some excellent, nice traits; they are also some evidence of our allowing God to work in our lives.
These lives should be Christian lives lived in freedom, because “you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love” (Galatians 5:13). In other words, we can work to better the lives of our fellows, rather than selfishly pursuing the things this world values.
Excercise Good Judgment
When we overindulge, it is so easy to get distracted from the way of the Lord and get caught up in the ways of the world. We Christians live in the world, but we should not be of the world.
The Apostle Paul instructed his friends in Ephesus, “Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs amongst yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts.” (Ephesians 5:18-19).
Paul wanted to be sure the Ephesian Christians kept their focus on the Lord, and that is a good standard for us today. We have to leave room for the Holy Spirit to work in our lives, and that won’t happen if we’ve crammed our lives full of earthly pleasures.
We must use good judgment. God gave us many good things in the world for our enjoyment. But that doesn’t mean that we are allowed to use them to fall into the trap of having too much of a good thing! Let us use our Christ-based freedom to live a godly human experience, deciding when enough is enough