Saying No to Excess | Ashley Varner
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Saying No to Excess

Matthew 6:21, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” There’s no better way to tell where you heart is that to open your front door and see all your stuff.

 

 

Info from the Show

We’ll talk about how possessions can put us at risk of loving the world.

I’ll share the link between stress and stuff. When we let go of stuff, we’re stopping the bleeding. We’re taking a stand and saying that it will no longer have a hold on us and take up our valuable time.

I want to caution you from loving the things of this world. We can be so worried about our possessions (or even the amount of money we have in the bank) that we’re not being openhanded with what God has given us.

Instead of us owning our possessions, our possessions own us. Listen to this episode to avoid that and learn how we love people and like things.

Resources Mentioned

 

Transcript

Welcome back to The Graceful Life Podcast. I am so glad to have you here. All of this month we have been talking about learning how to say no. If you haven’t heard the first couple of episodes of this month, I want you to go back and listen to them because we started off talking about how to choose the best over the good. Last week, we talked about letting go of negative thoughts and saying no to those thoughts that come up into our minds, come up in our minds and how we can deal with that.

Last week’s episode, I just wanted to say really quickly, was so influential in the way that I changed the way that I lived, how I changed the way that I lived because anytime that you take negative thoughts, you have to replace them with the truth of God’s word. If you haven’t listened to that episode, that was definitely a game changer in my life, so make sure that you check back and listen to that, and really even more than that, put it into practice because choosing to say no to negative thoughts is huge. That was just besides the point. I wanted to make sure that you guys heard that.

In today’s episode, I want to talk to you about saying no to excess. There is a verse in Matthew 6, it’s verse 21. It says, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Today, we’re going to talk about how possessions can put us at risk of loving the world. Let’s jump right in and I want to talk to you about that. Where your treasure is. Anytime that you are spending your money on things, that’s where your treasure is at and anytime that you invest money into something, a little piece of your heart goes with that.

Now, there is a great resource for moms and I’m going to leave a link in the show notes. This is a person who I listen to her podcast. I actually have a couple of her courses. Her name is Allie Casazza and she is an amazing Christian woman who teaches moms how to have less for the sake of enjoying more in their life. She has a great podcast. I’ll link her website in the show notes here. I don’t know her personally but I have listened to her and listened to her courses and she definitely is on the right track as far as heart-wise goes. She talks a lot about minimalism and things like that, but she has the heart of Christ behind all of her teaching. Check her out.

One of the things that she says is that when you pay for things, you’re not just paying with your money, but you’re also paying with your time. Whenever we let go of stuff, it’s like we’re stopping the bleeding of the payment of what we’re paying for this stuff. We’re taking a stand and saying that we will no longer let this piece of property or this possession have a hold on us and take up our valuable time.

This really boils down to this idea that we don’t want to love the things of the world and 1 John, chapter two, verses 15 through 17 talked a lot about this and they say, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him for all that is in the world, the desires of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and pride in possessions is not from the Father, but it is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”

What does that really mean? There’s nothing wrong with having stuff. I want to be very clear about that. I have a home. I have things in my home. I have clothes in my closet. There’s nothing wrong with having things. It’s whenever those things start to take precedence in our life that we start to run the risk of loving the world. These verses in 1 John warn us against the love of the world and he breaks it down into three different sections. The first is the desires of the flesh. These would be like sinful desires. These are the kind of desires that cloud our judgment, that destroy our value systems and we might think of these as only those big sins, the big ones. But I want you to consider the idea that anytime that you make a decision because of something that your flesh wants, whether it’s big or small in our eyes, those are desire of the flesh that can lead us to loving the world.

One big one for many Christian women is food. Food can be a desire of the flesh where we choose not to fill our bodies with good food because we see and we crave certain foods and then we end up eating them or we eat in excess and it can definitely start to create a love of the world in us.

The second section that John talks about is the lust of the eyes and that means seeing something that doesn’t belong to you and then wanting it and obsessing over it. Now, that could mean a certain home. That could mean a certain status. If you see someone else’s ministry and you think, “Man, I wish I could have a ministry like that,” that’s lust of the eyes. We think that, oh, because it’s for the Lord or because it’s a ministry that that’s not a bad way to go or that that’s not loving the world but it truly is. When you want something that doesn’t belong to you and you just keep obsessing over it and you’re thinking about it and you’re like, “Man … ” Even to the point where why does that guy or why does that girl deserve it and I don’t? That is lust of the eyes. That is saying, “I deserve this. I want this.” We’re obsessed. That means that the love of the Father isn’t in us.

We want to be really careful about comparing ourselves to other people. That’s a lot of where this lust of the eyes comes from because we compare ourselves with someone else and God’s word in another section says that when they compare themselves with themselves, they’re not wise. Comparison has definitely been a stronghold for a lot of women, a lot of Christian women who you see someone with a body that you don’t have or you see someone with a husband that you don’t have or you see someone that has well behaved kids and yours aren’t or a clean home and yours isn’t or whatever it is. We see that and we want it and then we start craving that more than we love the Lord and that sounds so harsh. I’m sorry that it sounds that way but John was harsh in his speaking and he said, “You know what? If you love the world, the love of the Father isn’t in you.”

We want to be intentional about whenever we have stuff and whenever we have possessions. That’s what we’re going to talk about in the next section. Once we start seeing … It starts with the desires of the flesh, the things that our body wants or things that we see that we want. Then this lust of the eyes where we something that doesn’t belong to us. What does that lead to? It leads to us wanting to take that and not necessarily from that person, but maybe going to the store and buying it.

The next section in John said, “Pride in possessions.” There’s nothing wrong with having stuff. But when that stuff becomes more than stuff than just stuff, then we risk loving the world. When you start to take pride in what you have in the things that you have, that’s when you start loving the world and we don’t want to get to that place. I don’t ever want to be at that place where I love the world more than I love the Lord. It starts with small things. It starts with having stuff and whenever stuff becomes more to us than what it should be. See, there’s definitely a direct link between stress and stuff.

Whenever we let go of this stuff, whenever we say no to excess and to one more set of dishes or one more whatever, throw pillow, or any of those things, it sounds like kind of silly stuff but one more donut, one more this or that, one more electronic device, when we say no to that kind of excess, what we’re doing is we’re saying, “You know what? I am choosing to love the Lord over the things of this world and I’m choosing not to let my possession become a source of pride in my life.

When you’re so worried about your possessions or even the amount of money that you have in the bank, so maybe you’re not big on buying tons of stuff, maybe you don’t spend your money very much but you look at your bank account or you look at your savings account and you start having pride in that. You think, “You know what? I am self-sufficient. Look at all this money I have in my savings account and this is protecting me.” This is where your pride comes in. When we get to that point, we’re not able to be openhanded with what God has given us.

See, whenever we accept what God has given us with an open hand, when we say, “Okay, Lord,” and we receive that from him and we leave our hand open, what that does is it allows the Lord to take that from us to use it and then put more in our hand. Sometimes we think if we leave our hands open that God’s going to take what he’s given us and we’re never going to get it back but when we leave our hand open, what we’re saying is, “Lord, you can use me as a vessel to distribute what you have.”

As God gives something to you … I hope that that is coming across correctly over audio because I’m here motioning with my hands as I’m recording this. What I want you to know is when you leave your hand open, when you are generous with what God has given you, then he’s going to be more likely to give you more because he knows he can trust you with it. He knows that as soon as he gives you something that you’re not going to be closefisted with it and keep it for yourself. Instead, he knows that you’re going to keep your hand open for him to be able to give and take as he pleases and use you as a conduit for what he wants to do through you.

Once we let go of those worries about possessions and we become openhanded with what God has given us, whenever we do that, we own our possessions instead of our possessions owning us. It sounds really similar but if you think about it, this is a good way to tell if you’re struggling with excess and if you need to get to the point where you say no to the excess that’s in your life. If your possessions are owning you instead of you owning them, then you may just be at a place where you need to go to the Lord and say, “God, help me to get to the place where excess is not in my life, where I can say no to things, where I can let go of things, where I don’t have to have so many possessions and where I can let go of the stuff so that I can live a life that is more focused on you and more focused on serving you.”

There’s something that I tell my kids and I wanted to end this episode with this because it’s something and how they say all the time. Anytime that they’re getting too close to their possessions, anytime that they are getting where they don’t just want to get rid of toys or they are too focused on what they have, I always tell them, “We love people and we like things.” If you’re getting to the point where you’re loving things over people, then just remember that. Just say to yourself, “We love people and we like things.” That’s going to help you to really look at your life in a different perspective. If there’s a thing that means more to you than a person, then that is a red flag that you need to start saying no to the excess that’s in your life.

I also wanted to tell you really quick about another resource that I have. It is called Lead with Heart, the Home Edition. It is a bundle of resources that I’ve created to help you lead your home with heart. There’s a video Bible study of the Proverbs 31 Woman as well as a printable worksheet. There is the entire Hidden in my Heart course, which is helping your children to memorize God’s word. There’s an online tracker for you that you can teach them. It tells you how to apply it. There’s audios of each verse. You can listen to it in the car. I’ve explained how I’ve done this with my children and that is part of that bundle.

Another resource that’s part of this bundle is called Simple Peaceful Home, which talks to you about really changing your to-do list and changing the way that you view your priority so that you can really live with peace at home. I’m going to leave a link to that in the show notes as well if you want to check that out.

If this episode has shown you, “You know what? I need to let go of some things in my life. I need to say no to some things in my home and saying no to possessions and saying no to excess.” Then I would definitely encourage you to check that out and again, like I said, I’ll leave Allie Casazza’s link there as well. She has some really great resources and even some great blog posts about this subject, too. I will talk to you guys next week and I’ll see you soon.

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