Over the Christmas holiday I was thinking about how excess keeps us from truly appreciating what we have and from experiencing God. A shorter word for excessive consumption is gluttony. Gluttony of gifts or food. Gluttony of certain experiences.
Think about it. The first cookie tastes delicious, but by the fifth one, we’ve lost our appreciation for it. More than a few toys and a child throws the rest aside playing only with those that capture her imagination.
We can gorge on the internet or television or food or relationships or sex or clothes or work or hobbies or success–or even books. Yet as we all know…instead of being filled full we remain dissatisfied. So we start the gorging-dissatisfaction cycle all over again.
Money, prestige, success, power and relationships will not fulfill us. We hear that all of the time. But do we believe this? It’s not that any of those things are bad in themselves. It’s when they are used illicitly that destruction overtakes us and the world. They become evil when we misuse them and turn them into idols.
What can be done? Detachment from these things through prayer and fasting. For some it’ll require a life-long detachment. For others frequent detachment.
When we fast from these things…the things we gorge on…we’ll go through detox. We’ll suffer all sorts of maladies and delusions–just like an addict going through detox. As we fast we’ll see just how attached we are. We’ll see what power these things have over us. They’ve become false gods.
But the truth is that a simpler life, a less excessive life, is hospitable to God and his ways. Remember how Jesus said we can’t serve two masters?