Maximus the Confessor: Self-indulgent

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But the one who is self-indulgent is dead while she lives. 1 Timothy 5:6

‘When you find your intellect occupied pleasurably with material things and becoming fondly attached to its conceptual images of them, you may be sure that you love these things more than God. “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

Scripture calls material things “the world”; and worldly men are those who occupy their intellect with these things. It is such men that Scripture rebukes when it says: “Do not love the world or the things that are in the world. . . The desire of the flesh, and the desire of the eyes, and pride in one’s possessions, are not of God but of the world.”‘

The self-indulgent person loves wealth because it enables him to live comfortably; the person full of self-esteem loves it because through it he can gain the esteem of others; the person who lacks faith loves it because, fearful of starvation, old age, disease, or exile, he can save it and hoard it. He puts his trust in wealth rather than in God, the Creator who provides for all creation, down to the least of living things.’

Maximus the Confessor (580-662) in The Writings of Saint Maximus the Confessor 51-52.

As we turn our attention to saints through the centuries, today’s quote by Maximus offers keen insight on the path to self-indulgence.

It starts with our intellect being “occupied pleasurably with material things” and then it moves to “becoming fondly attached.” From there the rest is history. Our heart is captivated and we become enslaved to wealthy. We think we have to have it to live comfortably. The antidote to self-indulgence is generosity.

I want to invite you to practice it right now according to your ability. At GTP we are hiring staff in Nepal, Malaysia, and Rwanda this month. We get messages asking for help daily from Christian ministries trying to advance the gospel and wanting assistance to build capacity.

These new staff will position us to empower and train national workers to build trust and grow local giving in challenging places. We also plan to convene our global team in Cape Town next month for the first time since the pandemic. Give generously as you are able. Click here.