I wish… If only… It’s not fair that… All of these phrases have in common a lack of contentment with the current state of things. What are we desiring? Does it line up with Christ? Read Proverbs 23.
Desire for wealth – Proverbs 23:1-11
When you sit down to dine with a ruler, Consider carefully what is before you, And put a knife to your throat If you are a man of great appetite. Do not desire his delicacies, For it is deceptive food. Do not weary yourself to gain wealth, Cease from your consideration of it. When you set your eyes on it, it is gone. For wealth certainly makes itself wings Like an eagle that flies toward the heavens. Do not eat the bread of a selfish man, Or desire his delicacies; For as he thinks within himself, so he is. He says to you, “Eat and drink!” But his heart is not with you. You will vomit up the morsel you have eaten, And waste your compliments. Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, For he will despise the wisdom of your words. Do not move the ancient boundary Or go into the fields of the fatherless, For their Redeemer is strong; He will plead their case against you.
Proverbs 23:1-11 NASB
When you are around someone who has wealth, are you envious of that wealth? Do you get jealous? These are not the ways to respond and if you’re not careful, this desire may result in you doing things you shouldn’t just to try and get it.
Parenting and Other Actions – Proverbs 23:12-19
Apply your heart to discipline And your ears to words of knowledge. Do not hold back discipline from the child, Although you strike him with the rod, he will not die. You shall strike him with the rod And rescue his soul from Sheol. My son, if your heart is wise, My own heart also will be glad; And my inmost being will rejoice When your lips speak what is right. Do not let your heart envy sinners, But live in the fear of the Lord always. Surely there is a future, And your hope will not be cut off. Listen, my son, and be wise, And direct your heart in the way.
Proverbs 23:12-19 NASB
Are we desiring other things, and is that something that we teach our children? Do they see that attitude in us, and if we see it in them, are we addressing it? Live in hope of the Lord, not in want of the world.
Alcohol and Sex – Proverbs 23:20-35
Do not be with heavy drinkers of wine, Or with gluttonous eaters of meat; For the heavy drinker and the glutton will come to poverty, And drowsiness will clothe one with rags. Listen to your father who begot you, And do not despise your mother when she is old. Buy truth, and do not sell it, Get wisdom and instruction and understanding. The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice, And he who sires a wise son will be glad in him. Let your father and your mother be glad, And let her rejoice who gave birth to you. Give me your heart, my son, And let your eyes delight in my ways. For a harlot is a deep pit And an adulterous woman is a narrow well. Surely she lurks as a robber, And increases the faithless among men. Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has contentions? Who has complaining? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes? Those who linger long over wine, Those who go to taste mixed wine. Do not look on the wine when it is red, When it sparkles in the cup, When it goes down smoothly; At the last it bites like a serpent And stings like a viper. Your eyes will see strange things And your mind will utter perverse things. And you will be like one who lies down in the middle of the sea, Or like one who lies down on the top of a mast. “They struck me, but I did not become ill; They beat me, but I did not know it. When shall I awake? I will seek another drink.”
Proverbs 23:20-35 NASB
Some of the greatest pulls we face is the desire to disappear into a bottle or comfort ourselves with sex. Neither of these will have the answer we are looking for and both, if done incorrectly and not as God intended, will lead to hurt and pain. We can want what others have, but we have to understand that only God fulfills our desires. Are we chasing Him today, or desiring the world?