Practical Theology: You Are What You Like

The fear of the LORD leads to life: Then one rests content, untouched by trouble. – Proverbs 19:23 (NIV)

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. – Philippians 4:12-13 (NIV)

We live in a world of likes and dislikes, of appetites and preferences. It is a world fixated with satisfying passions only to tease with something new and better. As a father, I am dreading the day I first hear the words “I don’t like him; I LIKE him, like him” from my daughter because it is the beginning of a long series of personal soap operas I can’t turn off. As a husband, I am asked if I like the new blouse, the new hair, the new nails and hope I like the right things with the right intensity. It isn’t that there is anything innately wrong with liking something or someone, but we have put too high a value on what we like. (When I say “we,” I mean me).

I hate to admit it, but I like a lot of things and spend far too much time and energy to get those things than I should. TV, the internet, comfort food, Mountain Dew, quality time on the Wii and any number of other non-essentials crowd my day and leave me discontent. Maybe it is the difference between having a healthy relationship with these things and being infatuated with them.

I am worn out from being defined by my circumstances and appetites. I have tasted what it is like to have God define me in the midst of a circumstance, and it was good, but as it is with many of my brethren, it takes repetition to learn some lessons. It is humbling to realize that the way I feel about some things is no different from my daughter’s future dealings with boys. “I don’t like Mountain Dew; I LIKE it, like it.” How sad is that?

Fortunately I have a heavenly Father who is patient with my juvenile crushes with things that will not return my affections. I want to know the secret of being content, whether Wii-time is available or Mountain Dew is in the fridge. When it comes right down to it, what I really want is to love God more. Not just love Him, but LOVE Him, love him.

8 responses to “Practical Theology: You Are What You Like”

  1. This hits home again, Chris. You are among friends. Does misery love company or what? I mean LOVE, love company. 🙂 Thanks for the comfort food for thought.

  2. Great post, although I’m not sure the Wii is really a non-essential (just kidding). A prayer I pray often is, “God, change my affections, so I like what you like and dislike what you dislike.” I don’t just want to do the right things, I want to want to do the right things. I don’t just want to not do wrong things, I want to not want to do them.

  3. Amen brotha!
    It is a shame how we are labeled by how much money we have or the type of car we drive. This is why I cannot associate with certain people. There views rub off on you and find yourself bending the same way they are. I already have to work at my self – esteem. Don’t need someone bringing me down with them.

  4. Excellent point of view Chris! I really enjoyed reading this post! Who wouldn’t LOVE to know the secret of being content? I would love to…Our daily lives would become so much more meaningful and stress-free…hmm…unfortunately too often we allow temptations of this world come into our lives, our homes. Great example, I already have to explain my 4 year old daughter that she doesn’t need to have “Kelli-Lelli” or “Scetchers” shoes to be happy…after she watches TV commercial (makes me want to cancel Direct TV at that moment :()
    Fortunately she agrees and she loves what she gets, but what about later in life I wonder? My prayer is; “Oh Lord, please help me be content with all I have or don’t have today and be thankful, and give me the wisdom to teach my children the same. Amen!”

  5. thanks for writing from your heart. Definitely a constant reminder for me to be content with what God is presently giving me. that means present..

  6. I like what Tim said about what you said–I want to not want the things that God wants us not to want, and to remember how very blessed I am.

  7. “I am worn out from being defined by my circumstances and appetites. I have tasted what it is like to have God define me in the midst of a circumstance, and it was good, but as it is with many of my brethren, it takes repetition to learn some lessons.”

    This spoke loud and clear to me. I wait for the day I’ll be able to say “lesson learned finally”.

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