Tomas Sedlacek: Beware of every new desire

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Of course, there is great gain in godliness combined with contentment; for we brought nothing into the world, so that we can take nothing out of it; but if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these. But those who want to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 1 Timothy 6:6-9

“The more we have, the more we want. Why? Perhaps we thought (and this sounds truly intuitive) that the more we have, the less we will need…We thought that consumption leads to saturation, the saturation of our needs. But the opposite has proven to be true. The more we have, the more additional things we need…Every new satisfied need will beget a new one and will leave us wanting. So beware of every new desire that you acquire — it is a new addiction. For consumption is like a drug.”

Tomas Sedlacek in Economics of Good and Evil: The Quest for Economic Meaning from Gilgamesh to Wall Street (London: Oxford University Press, 2011) 227-228.

I came across Sedlacek’s book as it was cited in a presentation in Europe last week. That book, coupled with a recent blog post that I read by J.D. Walt on “Maturity Means Moving from Managing Sin to Discipling Desires” has led me to encourage readers of these daily meditations to “beware of every new desire.” and intentionally “disciple our desires.”

All manner of desires will try to sweep us down the path of discontentment to ruin and destruction. Godliness with contentment is resolving that if we have Christ we have everything we will ever need. As He provides for our daily needs, food and clothing, we should be content and thankful. Many lack even these basic necessities. Beware of every new desire and let us disciple our desires!

Today I fly to Seattle to preach tomorrow at CrossView Church in Snohomish, Washington. Jon and Jada Swanson invited me to come speak on “Irrational Generosity”. What a great series title! Anyway, I’d appreciate your prayers for a fruitful trip.