Do you believe God can make you happier than anything else in the world? Do you believe that God can strip of you something dear, and yet fill you with more joy from Himself?
The excerpt is from the full sermon, “Covetousness: One of Those Respectable Sins“.
Remember, I’ve read this to you before, but this is one of my favorite quotes from Edward Payson, and I want to read it to you again. He says, “Christians might avoid much trouble and inconvenience if they would only believe what they profess; that God is able to make them happy without anything else.” You know, when I read that, I thought, okay, stop right there and just ask people do we even profess that? Do you believe that? Do you walk around saying that? Do you say that to each other? Do you tell that to your family? Do you say to people: You know what? I, as a Christian, I’ve been saved, I can be happy without having anything else. Just God Himself is sufficient. Do you believe that? Are you convinced of that? You see, he assumes that. He says, “If Christians would only believe what they profess…” Do we profess that? “…That God is able to make them happy without anything else. They imagine that if such a dear friend were to die or such-and-such blessings were to be removed, they should be miserable. Whereas God can make them a thousand-times happier without them. To mention my own case, God has been depriving me of one blessing after another, but as every one was removed, He has come in and filled up its place. And now when I’m a cripple and not able to move, I’m happier than ever I was in my life before or ever expected to be. And if I believed this twenty years ago, I might have been spared much anxiety.” But I recognize this, we need reality. Even though we don’t want to be misled by subjective feelings when those feelings lie to us like David thinking he was forsaken, and obviously he wasn’t, but being a type of Christ, we know that those words came to be used by our Lord when He actually was forsaken. But the reality is we want reality. I mean, a promise like this – you know one thing that was true back there in 1999, I had had so many sweet, sweet visitations from the Lord and a closeness and a joy that to read that promise, oh, there was reality. The thing is if we haven’t tasted what it really means to have the Lord close, if that’s not real to us, such a promise is just going to be kind of empty. You’ll just walk out of here. It won’t grip you. We have to taste that He’s good. The truth is if I haven’t tasted that the Lord is good, then you know what? I walk out of here and a car or a woman, money, ease… it’s going to be more to me. What does God say? The Lord says this to us. He says, “Draw near to Me, and I will draw near to you.” “I will never leave you or forsake you.” What a blessed, blessed promise! Brethren, we can defy the devil. The devil loves to stand in there and say you can’t be happy unless… You can defy the very devil to even suggest any circumstances to you that you need to be anxious about and that will bring misery upon you. Not if this text is true. Discontent. Remember, discontent is the root of idolatry. The opposite of covetousness in Hebrews 13:5 is content. Covetousness is idolatry. The opposite of that is content. Not just content in money, obviously. Content in the reality that God will never leave me or forsake me. My contentment is in Him. He is my portion. That’s where the contentment lies. Contentment: I have the living God and I need nothing more. He is the richest man in the world who can have money go past him and cars and houses and beautiful husbands and wives and all that and he can be content because he has God and he knows he’s got the greatest Treasure and the greatest riches of all if he’s got the Almighty for his own. What else do we need? Really need? What if I lose my job? What if I get sick and don’t have insurance? What if I live to be very old and I don’t have any retirement? Listen: “I will never leave you or forsake you.” Well, suppose I become an invalid? What if I get old and my kids put me in a nursing home? He says, does He not, “even in your old age and to gray hairs, I will carry you.” That’s the same you who He never leaves or forsakes. Papa, He’s going to carry you to the end. But you already believe that. You quote that text. What if I go blind? You know my vision for the last year has been failing fast. But you know what He says? “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” And I recognize this, even if these eyes go out, He’s still going to reveal Himself to me. My hearing – there was dog barking last night, and all I have to do is turn my good ear to the pillow and I can’t hear it anymore. But you know what God promises? “My sheep hear My voice.” So even if these ears fail and these eyes fail, He’s not going to leave me. He’s going to continue to talk to me. He’s going to continue to show Himself to me. Oh, but what if I lose my health? Or I lose my home? Or I lose my job? Do you know what He says? “Say to those who have an anxious heart…” Does that fit anybody? “Be strong, fear not, behold, your God will come with vengeance, with recompense, He will come and save you.” God says I’m right here by your side. I’ll stay close. You’re not going to lose Me. Brethren, do you realize, many a child of God, they’ve lived in shacks and they’ve been happy. They’ve been on sickbeds and it’s been like Heaven to them. Have you never read of Richard Wormbrand and many others? Have you never read of Rutherford? Richard Wormbrand said in his cell they would have such visitations of Christ. Rutherford said they meant to make that prison a hell to him and God made it very Heaven. Where are you going to go where God’s not going to be with you? This excerpt was taken from the full sermon: Covetousness: One of Those Respectable Sins.