So what do we do about insatiable desires? How do we keep ourselves in check? How do we keep little things from becoming big things and making themselves at home in our lives?
Romans 8:7-8 from the Message Bible says this:
“Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. Those who trust God’s action in them find that God’s Spirit is in them—living and breathing God! Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life. Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God. Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores God, ends up thinking more about self than God. That person ignores who God is and what he is doing. And God isn’t pleased at being ignored.”
I don’t think God wants us obsessed with being perfect, because the truth is that we would never be able to do that. I think it’s more about tuning in to God, His grace and forgiveness and living by His Word. When I read 1 Kings 11 I am reminded that the ways of God aren’t just “rules and regulations.” It’s not about not having fun. God wants us to have fun and to enjoy life. But if you look at Solomon, he followed his flesh instead of God and was he happier? No. Not only that, but how do you think wife number 699 felt when she married Solomon? When we live by God’s standards we live at peace. Some people call God’s Word his “love letter” to us, and it’s true. When we live by His Word we find harmony with ourselves, our loved ones and the world around us.
If this was a challenge for someone as wise as Solomon, then it certainly can be challenging for me. But when I draw close to God, accept his grace, and cling to his love letter, the focus is off me and on God and others. I’m happier and healthier. I’m at peace. This is what God wanted for Solomon and Israel, and this is what he wants for you and me.