The ring, in The Lord of the Rings, provided me with a great illustration of how things can be given way too much focus in our life (excluding all mystical powers of course). Achan, in Joshua 7, is a good example of someone being pulled by possessions with disastrous results for himself, his family, and all his other possessions. Solomon's wisdom, in Eccl.5:10-20, provided again the concept of balance, because he declared things a gifts from God to be enjoyed but not something to love and focus on. That's really the point isn't it? Things are only things! To love things is to get our priorities out of balance and even become guilty of idolatry. Here are some of the simple points about things that I shared in this lesson.
1. Things may bring moments of happiness, but not joy!
A. There is a huge difference between a thrill and contentment. In Phil.4:11ff, Paul said the secret what not a What, but Who!
B. Ask yourself some tough questions when you're seeking things. 1. Will it feel good or build good? 2. Am I seeking stimulation or improvement (esp. when shopping)? 3. Is this driven by wisdom or weakness?
C. Be Real: Does Jesus want us to have happiness or joy? Moments or life? Why do we keep pursuing happiness, especially when in Him we can fine eternal joy?
2. Things build ego not character!
A. i.e. the Rich Young Ruler, Luke 18:18-25, Jesus saw his heart.
B. Ego is driven by what we want others to think about us! Character is being real about pleasing God! (Even if no one else sees it!)
C. Be Real: Ego is superficial stuff! Character is integrity of the heart!
3. Things distract rather than clarify our focus!
A. i.e. the soils, Matt.13:22 = thorny ground was shallow, easily distracted by things.
B. Is it true that "It's more blessed to give than to receive"? Jesus said it is Acts 20:35
C. Be Real: Distraction of things is a huge reason why so many are half-hearted about seeking Jesus. Just look at how higher gas prices effects how we view our economy, our country, and our abundant blessings!
4. Things are temporary!
A. They rust, rot, and ruin! Them and us! Matt.6:19-21
B. Seen sign "Temporarily Out of Order"? Need signs on everything that read "Temporarily Working" because that's always true!
C. Be Real: How many things have you actually worn out? (Not counting underwear and socks)
5. Things become our master!
A. Didn't plan on it or want it, but obsession created it!
B. Matt. 6:24 Jesus was clear - CAN'T have two masters!
C. Be Real: The reason Jesus isn't your Master is there is no room in your heart for two masters!
Conclusion: I love The Lord of The Rings movies! I have all three. After seeing them several times, it dawned on me that it really could be called The Ring Is Lord!