Dancing in Red Socks
Surrounded by a world replete with desires of every size and shape gone wild, it’s easy to understand why so many of us struggle with something the Bible refers to as “lasciviousness.” Not a word that is used on a regular basis by many ordinary citizens, lasciviousness is something that we all need to understand in order to guard ourselves against its seepage into our own lives.
1 Peter 4:2-3 says, “That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. For the time past of our live may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness…” (KJV). Lasciviousness is defined as “exciting lustful desires” or simply “expressing lusts” and one definition of lust is “to feel an intense desire.”
While the temptation is to place this simply in a sexual context, the truth is that much of what we battle in life is based around our desires in all areas of our lives and how “in check” those desires are. Age is not a major factor in this battle of the “I wants.” The “I want” starts early in life and it’s up to parents on how much the child is taught to reign in those impulsive desires.
I can remember my own battles with intense desires as a preteen where I spent hours cultivating my dreams and passions for something my parents deemed as totally impractical and virtually impossible with our given family and housing situation.
I wanted a horse.
Like so many of my peers, I dreamed of the day when I would be the proud owner of my very own horse. In my mind’s eye I could envision myself riding my faithful steed through miles of open green fields. Though my parents were sympathetic, the backyard was needed for my nine brothers and sisters and would not be suitable for a horse of any size. I would have to be content with the occasional visit to the nearby riding stables to satisfy my equestrian fantasies.
My husband and I are constantly reminded of the greater joy we experience in many of the simple things we’re surrounded with…a joy that goes way beyond the short-termed “joy” that comes by fulfilling of our unchecked lusts. Desires of our flesh remind me of the joy one might initially experience when purchasing an over-priced new car. Somehow that joy always seems to go sour the next morning as you meditate on the monthly car payments you will be strapped with for years to come.
Later, when my husband and I found ourselves blessed with four children of our own and attempting to survive on one income, there were many times when we had to say “no” to our children’s wistful desires selecting instead more practical items needed at the time. Though financial restraints forced us to put many of our desires in check, we later noticed a major character benefit emerging in return for our sacrifices.
Surprised by a spontaneous visit, my mother-in-law once stopped by our house with a small gift she had picked up for one of our sons…some bright red socks. For many of us, socks are only looked upon as a mundane necessity of life, but in the eyes of our son, this was a much-appreciated gift. Much to her delight, our eighteen-month-old put on the soft, plush socks and proceeded to dance around the room. Every so often, he would stop, pull up his pants and smile with glee at his new acquisition before returning to playful romp.
That simple display of joy and thankfulness has left a great impression on my heart that day. How many times have I received a gift from God and barely acknowledged His goodness to me? Instead, have my own selfish desires prevented me from noticing what I have been given? Has my pursuit of ponies or bikes kept me from fully enjoying the simple things of life that God has blessed me with in so many area?
Though my children have grown, I still think back to the life lesson I learned that day from our son. When I grow up, I hope that I can aspire to that childlike level of contentment and simple joy. Maybe someday I will be able to join children of God everywhere as we all learn the joy of dancing in red socks.
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