The ABC’s of Wisdom: Building Character with Solomon - Overindulgence
Too Much of a Good Thing
If you find honey, eat just enough-too much of it, and you will vomit.
Perhaps this doesn’t seem like a life-changing issue, and it might not be-until you begin to vomit. You don’t realize the problem until it has overwhelmed you. As Derek Kidner has remarked, there is a fundamental difference between a healthy appetite and greed.
In some ways this desire to always have more goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden, where God offered Adam and Eve their choice of the fruit set before them. “Look in any direction,” God seemed to say. “Do you like peaches? Nectarines? Pears? Plums? Grapes? Would you like a fresh orange or possibly a nice fruit salad for lunch? Whatever you see, you can have. It all belongs to you.”
There was only one restriction. “Don’t touch the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” Thousands of trees were theirs for the taking. All the fruit they could ever want and more besides. They were in paradise and God offered them enormous freedom. “Pick your fruit and eat to your heart’s content. Just don’t touch that one tree. Everything else is yours for the taking.”
Not surprisingly, that’s exactly where the serpent attacked (Genesis 3:1-6). He questioned God’s goodness and implied that God was holding out on them. “He doesn’t want you to be happy and fulfilled. He’s keeping the best for Himself. He was lying when He said you would die.”
Someone was indeed lying, and he hasn’t stopped lying since. The serpent still whispers in our ear that we’ll be happy if only we spend more, buy more, move up to a larger home, take a new job, move to a new city, get on the fast track, loosen up our rigid standards, learn to move with the movers and shake with the shakers.
His greatest feat may be in convincing unhappy spouses that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. So husbands have affairs and wives file for divorce-or vice versa. At its heart, the current divorce craze is driven by the belief that human happiness and God’s will must be identical. “How can God be pleased with a marriage where we are so miserable together?” Will the God who said “I hate divorce” (Malachi 2:16) be more pleased when you are no longer married?
Ever since Eden, men and women have sought to find happiness by pushing beyond the limits established by God. Deep down we doubt God’s goodness and we think that if a little is good, a lot must be better. So we overeat, overspend, and overindulge all our appetites. If it feels good, we do it, even if God has said it is wrong. Something in us makes us push the limits, hoping to find happiness. Or peace. Or satisfaction. Or joy.
When will we learn that there is no fulfillment out side of God? His ways are always best. When we break the rules, we pay the price of a seriously upset stomach.
Lord God, save me from the folly of thinking that I need something besides You to be truly happy today. Amen.
In what areas of your life are you tempted to overindulge? When does it happen most often? What one thing would make you happy right now?
What does it mean to you to be satisfied with Jesus?
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