Wednesday, April 20

Too Much

"You shall have no other gods before me." --Deuteronomy 5:7

We live in a world where we have instant access to just about anything. If you want to read some of the latest headlines from around the world, you can visit Reuters.com. Interesting in learning a little about science? ScientificAmerican.com is where you can start browsing. The internet offers us literally billions of options for exploring all subjects--both sinister and edifying--with more being added every minute.

How much is too much? Is it possible to have too much of a good thing? How do we determine which things are actually beneficial and useful? What is the difference between feeding a healthy habit and satisfying a dangerous compulsion? Assessing the amount of time engaged in certain activities might be a place to start, but to really identify whether you're in danger of experiencing "too much of a good thing", you need to honestly look at your attitude. Is your mindset being adversely affected by what you're doing? If so, maybe you need to re-evaluate the things you believe to be the most important in your life.

My husband and I used to subscribe to NetFlix, which is a web-based movie rental program that allows you an unlimited supply of videos (up to 3 at a time) with no late fees. Initially, this seemed like a great thing for us. We enjoyed the convenience of not having to drive to Blockbuster and waste time searching through stacks of disorganized videos to find something that we might agree upon. We liked having thousands of title from which to choose, and we like being able to control which movies showed up in our mailbox and when.

Like I said, we used to subscribe. After a few months, we began realizing that we had allowed the NetFlix schedule to control us. We scrambled to watch a movie as quickly as it arrived so that we could return it as soon as possible and get a new one. We found ourselves sacrificing valuable conversations after dinner just to zone out in front of the TV. All this wasted time was costing us far more than the $19.95 subscription.

It's laughable to think that we let ourselves get all out of whack because of something that initially seemed so convenient. Our NetFlix experience is only a trivial example of how easily we can be sucked into experiencing too much of a good thing. I'm thankful that we learned such a valuable lesson without much collateral damage.

Other people may find themselves in far less fortunate situations as a result of "too much" of a certain something. Whenever we allow anything to take the place of God in our lives, we suffer. Only God deserves to be seated prominently on the throne. When God is not first and foremost, bad things can happen to our spiritual lives, our relationships, our emotions--sometimes even our bank accounts and our health.

God wants to be primary in our lives not because he's controlling, but because he is the only one who can exercise the right amount of control. Left on our own, we will fall prey to just about anything that seems good at the time, even if it isn't. In order to avoid overloading ourselves with too much of a good thing, we need to make sure that we stay focused on the One who is always good, and the only experience that can ever be completely good when experienced in excess--a relationship with Christ.

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