3 Ways to Overcome Lust and Excess

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In this month’s series, Cheating: Breaking the Rules, we’re learning how we can step out in faith away from the faulty system of rules set up by society and break those rules to follow GOD.  This week, we’re taking a closer look at mammon, the pagan god who personifies the struggles of lust and excess and how we can overcome these idols in our lives.


A Preface on Lust and Excess

While lust is most commonly applied to sexual temptation, it is crucial to note that the idol’s roots go down much further than just this physical aspect.  More broadly, Oswald Chamber defines lust as “I must have it at once.”  Lust, in its fullest sense, is the desire for immediate gratification, whether that be physical, financial, or even spiritual.  Any time that we desire and strive for something in our own timing rather than GOD’s, we are guilty of lust.  

Similarly, excess can be defined as “I must have more of it.”  When we feel entitled to more of something GOD has already blessed us with, or fight to store up more resources than we could possibly need, we are failing to trust in His omnipotence and good will for our lives.  The idol of excess becomes a security blanket and pulls us away from a relationship with GOD, the Creator and Provider of all blessings.  

So, with this proper scope in mind, let’s look at three ways to remove these idols of lust and excess from our hearts.  


Celebrate Other’s Blessings

“Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15, NJKV).

One of the best ways to overcome  lust and excess is by shifting our perspectives to the lives of those around us.  If we can get remove our self-centered tunnel vision mindsets, we can begin to live in the way GOD intended, with a focus on others.  In living with and for others, we are called to celebrate their blessings with them.  

Our selfish flesh can make it awfully hard to truly celebrate with others.  Maybe they got the promotion we thought we deserved.  Maybe they got a scholarship and we got the rejection letter.  Maybe GOD has given them a talent that we secretly envy.  Our flesh will always turn it back towards ourselves.

If we truly believe in the love and provision of GOD, however, we already believe that He will provide everything we need.  We simply need to lean into that faith and trust that He knows what is best and is leading us to His blessing.  Such faith allows us to move beyond our own perceived lacking to celebrate the accomplishments and blessings of others.  When we aren’t consumed with lust and excess, we are able exemplify GOD’s love and joy to our community by genuinely celebrating how He has uniquely blessed and gifted those around us.  


Rest in GOD

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you.  Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light”  (Matthew 11:28-30, NLT).

Another powerful way to break away from the herd following the god of lust and excess is to take a break from the rat race.  Taking a true, sacred Sabbath removes us from society’s worldly pursuits and brings us closer to GOD.  So how do we rest in GOD?

Of course, connecting to GOD through reading scripture, prayer, worship, or meditation is a great way to spend time in spiritual intimacy.  We can also participate in hobbies or simple tasks and simply be conscious of GOD’s presence and invite GOD into our activities.  A simple bike ride can become deep spiritual rest if we’re breathing in GOD’s presence as we pedal. GOD is overjoyed when we invite Him into the activities he designed for us to enjoy and grants us spiritual rest as we experience them with Him.


Seek the Kingdom

Seek the Kingdom of GOD above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need” (Matthew 6:33, NLT).  

While the first two means of overcoming idols are crucial in our pursuit of GOD, the most fundamental element is to seek the kingdom and its concerns above our own worldly endeavors. The beauty of GOD’s generosity is that he desires to bless us and promises to do so if we obey and live in relation to Him.  

We must tread carefully here, lest we slip into believing that by obeying GOD, he will give us the excess our flesh desires that we so easily transform into an idol.  Instead, we honor GOD with our lives, our relationships, our finances, and our decisions, with faith that he will provide for us.  The point isn’t to follow GOD so he gives us the stuff we want.  The point is that by following GOD, the stuff would become less and less important as we see GOD as the source and provider of all blessings and the supplier of everything we need.  Why focus on the stuff when you can instead turn your attention and affection to the creator and source who desires to be in personal relationship with you?

In stepping away from society’s worship of mammon and the lust and excess he portrays, we discover GOD waiting to draw us close and care for our needs.  The more we step out in faith, the more faithful we will find GOD to be.  

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