If you have been reading my column recently, you will know that I am currently in the middle of writing a series on the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit. I have covered goodness, kindness, faithfulness and patience. Three of those still to come are peace, love and joy – a fitting Christmas combo – sentiments that are brandished around quite liberally at this time of year. As Christians we have an understanding of the source of these three qualities, and in fact we have access to intimate relationship with Him. These three attributes are not just a festive Christmas card message, but are in fact fruits of the Spirit available to us all.
I will however come back to each of these gifts next year, and look at each one more closely. For now, as we wrap up the year, let’s keep in mind that the world craves peace, love and joy but is easily duped by counterfeits such as leisure, lust and fun. And when I say the world, I mean all of us, so let us be especially aware as Christians not to get caught up in chasing after temporary fixes when we know full well where true satisfaction comes from.
And this brings me to my topic for this week – satisfaction. Christmas is a time when we tend to over-indulge. We buy more stuff and eat more food than we need to. We want more. The shops and the advertisers tell us that we need more. The thing about more though, is that the more we get more, the more we want more. There is no end point to more. On the contrary, when we learn to be content with enough, we are the richer for it.
Think of it this way. The person who has more and wants more lives in a place of lack – a sort of perpetual poverty. The person who is content with enough lives in a place of completeness – a sort of unending affluence. The incredible thing is that whether we find ourselves in perpetual poverty or unending affluence is related to what we crave rather than what we have. We need to be able to take a step back from the world in which we live and to remind ourselves that there are things greater than what seems shiny and appealing in the here and now.
“ Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.”
1 John 2: 15-17