About five times a day one of my daughters suddenly decides that a certain object is her private property. It can be a shoe, or one of our phones, or a bottle of Windex – something that never belonged to my child, and in fact may be dangerous for my child, but in her mind – it is hers. And our sweet child will grab it, see me coming, begin to run away, and when I take it back from her, throw herself on the ground in a fit because her prized toy was taken away.
I can, in that moment, get frustrated with her. Until I realize that the same nature in my baby girls resides in me – and it is evil.
The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;
for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters.
Who may ascend the hill of the LORD ? Who may stand in his holy place? Psalm 24:1-3
I have a big nasty sin struggle that I battle with constantly, and here is my confession: I like to think I “own” things. And it isn’t just material things – although that struggle certainly exists, but it is more insidious when it is about other things – things that are not mine at all.
For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 1 Timothy 6:7
I like to “discover” things – works of art, people, celebrities, even causes. And I feel tweaked a little when other people start to discover them too. It turns into this competitive feeling I get and I truly do hate this aspect of my nature. It can be about something totally ridiculous, like thinking I know the most Lorelai lines from Gilmore Girls, or it can be about things that are desperately serious.
Here’s the worst example I could think of (and I’m being honest at the risk of alienating every one of you). I have shared before that Justin and I feel strongly a desire to adopt. And it is obvious by our situation currently, and the precariousness of it, that we cannot begin the process now, no matter how much we want to do so. In my heart I want ALL of the 147 million orphans adopted and rescued, and yet there is this terrible part of me that feels tweaked when people decide that they want to adopt or when the cause of the orphan also becomes their cause. It is like I “own” the issue of orphan care and I feel like it is being taken from me.
Isn’t that AWFUL? What is it about my horrible very sinful heart that feels that way? I hate it about myself – but it is there.
I have said before, and I will say again and again, that the enemy of our souls resides in the dark. And any light we can ever shine on him takes away power he thinks he holds over us. My proud selfish sinful heart wants to own things in this world. Wants to be unique. Wants to be different. Wants to be recognized. Wants to do good. Is puffed up with pride beyond anyone’s wildest imaginations. And I have to confess this junk, this terrible sin, and ask the Lord to burn it out of my life and cleanse me of that unrighteousness. I don’t want to be this person. I don’t want to compete with anyone for anything – and especially not over things that ARE NOT MINE and are about justice and sharing the love of Christ with the world. So I am confessing this sin in the desperate hope that the Lord will free me from the sin that so easily entangles.
For every beast of the forest is Mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird of the mountains, and everything that moves in the field is Mine. If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is Mine, and all it contains. Psalm 50:10-12
There is only one being who can say “That is mine!” and be telling the truth. And I am not that being.