For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. I John 2:16
and its parallels to Genesis 3:6.
And when the woman saw that the tree [was] good for food, and that it [was] pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make [one] wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. — Genesis 3:6
I specifically discussed the lust of the flesh and its relation to food.
This week I want to talk about the lust of the eyes. Once again, I’m not talking lust in the more typical way. Lust is a desire for something that we do not have. People can lust for power, fame, or things.
Contentment stands in opposition to the lust for things. If we’re content, we’re satisfied with what we have rather than desiring something more or different.
We can rob ourselves of contentment just by going shopping.
How many times have you seen something in the store that you hadn’t even thought about needing until you saw it? I know it has happened to me. It can also negatively impact your finances. Whether you are an impulse shopper or not, seeing new things can give you the desire to buy them. You either find a way to buy it within your budget or you live without it and wish you could buy it. The lust of the eyes can rob you of your money, your contentment, or both!
How can we avoid these pitfalls?
Know yourself. Your weaknesses may be entirely different from mine. Your biggest weakness could be clothing, home decor, technology, books, or even office supplies!
Avoid shopping at places you don’t need to be. Just as an alcoholic shouldn’t hang around in a bars, I personally shouldn’t make stops at office supply stores just to browse! And if I need to be in an office supply store, I should stick to my list while I’m there.
Make a list and stick to it. It’s certainly not new advice, but it’s worth repeating. Avoid impulse purchases!
This used to be easier before the web. Now, you don’t have to leave your house to be inundated with images of beautiful things that you don’t have, but think you need. Your e-mail inbox is filled with weekly specials from all your favorite stores. There are so many beautiful home decorating blogs with wonderful and even frugal ideas. But even those can cause you to start to desire things that you don’t need, causing you to spend money that would have been better saved or spent on something else.
It’s such a balancing act. We have to buy things. We need clothes and furniture and office supplies. And we should be wise stewards of the money God provides us. So while we should be seeking to get the best price on things when we need to buy them, we have to be very careful not to be sucked into buying things or just wanting things as a result of all our “comparison shopping”.
Here’s what I’m doing to battle the lust of the eyes.
- Asking God to show me where I am weak and to give me strength to avoid those tempting areas.
- Asking Him for guidance on my purchases.
- Praying that He will give me contentment.
What are you biggest shopping temptations?
Read the rest of The Christian Home Issue 17.