With the New Year comes new goals. New dreams. New appetites. We all know the number one New Year’s resolution...it’s not to eat MORE but to eat LESS. It’s the number one resolution of all time because God blessed us all with a tremendous appetite. But not just for food.
He gave us a appetite for life that, should be, in all ways directed towards Him. Sadly as we read last week what God CREATED we DISTORTED.
Instead of having a desire for more of Him we direct that attention else where.
The natural desire for MORE will never be fully satisfied. Sadly, this is an internal tension that never goes away.
That’s why we always want…
- that raise.
- that next bite.
- that newest phone.
- that next answer.
Appetites have the ability to not only influence, but also determine the direction and quality of our lives. Our response to these appetites will determine whether or not we fulfill God’s will for our lives.
Your appetites will either rule you, or you (through the Spirit), will rule them. – Andy Stanley
Esau did not understand how to handle the emotions and the physical ramifications surrounding his appetite.
He gave up his birthright for a bowl of stew.
So what’s a birth right and why is it so important? I’m glad you asked…
Andy Stanley explains this way:
In ancient Middle Eastern culture, the oldest son was given by his father, a birthright. The birthright was extraordinarily valuable.
There were three components to a birthright.
There was a financial side, because the oldest son in a Middle Eastern family received twice as much, in some cases three times as much of any of the rest of the kids. The oldest son, especially in a wealthy family, became instantly wealthier than all of his brothers and sister, not by nature of anything that he had done, just by the fact that he was born first. Birthright was an extremely important part of a person’s life.
The other thing about birthright was that you were given the authority over the rest of the family. You became the judge. Whenever there was a family dispute, you didn’t vote, you listened to the information and said, “Here’s what we’re going to do.” Nobody could dispute it because you had the birthright.
The third perk to the birthright was this concept of the blessing of God. That if you had the birthright, God was almost forced to bless you. There was this belief that God would be with you in a way that He wouldn’t be with the rest of your family. So the birthright was an extraordinarily valuable thing. The Birthright was to be prized and cherished. It meant power and money and the blessing.
So if it was this important why did Esau give it all up?
It’s simple: His appetite overpowered his future. He allowed what he wanted NOW to hinder his future blessing LATER. His legacy was traded in for something temporary.
Is the Bible serious? We’re talking a bowl of soup. You’re kidding right? Nope.
Is it hard to believe he gave it all up for that? Not really…
We all have a bowl of soup. We all have something(s) that we struggle with. Items that compared to our future are minuscule and stupid. But for whatever reason, they want control over our lives. They want us to say “yes” instead of “no thanks”, something Esau knew nothing of.
Like most of the Bible, this was way bigger than just about one family’s dispute, this was about the cross. Esau’s ability to throw his birthright aside so flippantly showed his inability to understand that his birthright was linked to God’s plan of redemption for the whole world.
He allowed a TEMPORARY temptation to overpower his ETERNAL significance. Anytime we choose temporal or physical items over spiritual ones we are no different than Esau. Sadly we have all made the same decision…but with a new year comes new opportunities.
We all have a bowl of soup, so what’s yours?
- What’s hard for you to say no to?
- What is it that you are doing that you wouldn’t want anyone to know about?
- What are you talking yourself into?
You know what your soup is…So what are we doing to keep these appetites in check?
One way to get started in the right direction and to help us stay focused on God’s will for our lives rather than our own personal short-fallings is to dream. It’s important we focus on the future, not the now.
Start by asking yourself these questions:
- What do you want to see God do?
- What do you want to see God do in your family?
- Through our church?
- In your business?
Why do this? Because this will reframe all of our appetites.
The clearer, bigger and more defined the frame, the less grip your appetites will have on your lives. – Andy Stanley
We have no idea what God wants to use us to accomplish in this world. We will never know if we choose to throw it all away…
Life is too important. Jesus is too important to see it all waisted.
This year, we learn to say no…
-This blog was based upon my own personal notes and others of a talk by Andy Stanley.
-Follow the other staff members and their observations from our chronological Bible readings here.