The extreme form of this is when people make up their own religion rather than what God has said. It is like going into a restaurant and looking at the menu, then declining to eat anything listed there. Very likely, this person does not believe in the concept of sin therefore there is no reason to be forgiven. They take a piece of this religion and a piece of that one over there (ooh, that looks so good), just like going to a smorgasbord and picking out what you like to eat. The problem is, there is no true provision for salvation, only one that is made up, and they are short-changed eternally as a result. Jesus said in John 14:6, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father but through me.?
Our default nature is sin. We cannot save ourselves from this nature but many try by doing good works or whatever. We must come to God who provided Jesus as the only way to be close to God. But people don't like the idea there is only one way, they want more choices. If you think about it, God was not obligated to provide one way for us to know Him He could have left us to die in our sins without hope, but He did provide a way for us to know Him and have fellowship with Him.
Another aspect of this idea is people whose whole existence is centered around what they want. This is a control-type person to the extreme who always needs their own way or they explode. There are many forms of this in the people we know and associate with. The important thing is to put up the boundaries and keep them up at all costs, but this is hard to do sometimes. If we don't, our lives will not be our own, and we become the 'slaves' of others' wishes.
One man I knew would never come to church when he was invited because he had to work on his car. We can see this attitude in other ways also, when people get so wrapped in what they possess that they neglect their relationships and other important aspects of their life for the sake of what they are involved in.
Work is a sub-category of this one, because it provides the means to buy the things that are wanted and longed for. In this sense our value as a person becomes what we possess. These things that are so important to us break down, rust, etc., but they are still longed for. Jesus said, "Don't long for things of this nature that are temporary, crave the things that have lasting value in the spiritual realm, the things that God values. When our minds are so set on what we want, we very likely could care less about what God values in our lives.
You can also put pleasure in this category. One man owned a boat that he took out every weekend instead of going to church. Some would argue he could be with God in the natural world he was experiencing but that is just an excuse to indulge what you want to do.
You can think of any hobby imaginable and put it in the blank here, and that could become an obsession for you if you let it. Reading, music, TV, movies, and so many more can fill that blank. There is nothing wrong in any of these in themselves, it is in how you treat them in your life. What are you allowing to enter your mind? What are you neglecting because you are doing this thing that is so important to you? You can do these things all during the week, yet you choose to do them when you need to have time with God to refresh and help you in your spiritual side. Many times, these are just an excuse to avoid being with God because you really don't want to. How sad, because He loves you so much. This was the risk he took when he created us with a free will, the possibility that we would not want to be near Him.
This subject is a 'sacred cow' in our society. We train our children and ourselves to memorize the latest scores and statistics of every team, not thinking what this obsession will do to us spiritually. People sit for hours watching one game after another, shutting out God and other relationships in the process. You will notice that a lot of the best games are scheduled for Sunday when people could be nourishing their spirit.
Some people bet on which teams will win or lose, taking this obsession to a different extreme. If you work in a place where this is happening, you have to hear all this during the week before the big games. Yuk! But let someone bring up a spiritual topic and watch how fast it is quashed.
There is nothing wrong with sports if they are kept in context, but how many people do you know who have the discipline to do this? Many times, you are watching a bunch of millionaires performing before your eyes. Is this how you really want to spend your valuable time? Sports was one of the things that brought down the empire of Rome You can see why this is true as you listen to conversations around you and observe what people are watching.
What is the point! Is it that we shouldn't enjoy ourselves with anything? Of course not! Jesus said, "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these other things will be added to you." (Matt. 6:33) God wants us to be happy and to enjoy life, but He expects us to make our number one priority what He has for us, rather than what we think we need. The rule to remember is, whatever comes between you and God is something that either needs to be put in perspective or abolished from your life. Your existence here will only last 70-80 plus years, while your eternal spirit will live forever. Where that spirit lives is for you to decide while you are alive. The Bible says in Hebrews 9:27, "It is given to man once to die and then the judgment." Our sin nature condemns us to destruction without God as manifested through His Son Jesus. What we do with that choice will determine where we will spend eternity. You and I must ask ourselves "Is what I am involved in worth neglecting my eternal destiny?"
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