Can you see how slippery this particular sin can be? The world shouts out; Do what pleases you! You owe it to yourself! This seems to be directed, most often, at mom's. Society sees mothers as weary, downtrodden creatures, who are desperate to be freed from the mundane. The perfect captive audience . . . Hence, elaborate efforts to advertise spas and beauty treatments; health and fitness programs, and getaways packages. A sense of entitlement has been nurtured, so that mother's truly believe these diversions are owed to them for all of their labours.
This aside, when it comes down to it, it just feels great to indulge in what provides the most direct pleasure. I love being lost in a book. And I love concocting and savouring good food. I do not find direct gratification in building castles, or slopping paint all over a soggy piece of art paper. And so I prioritize my favourite activities, squeezing in the latter ones, as though they were on a checklist of onerous activities I must dutifully perform.
In my efforts to chip away at this iceburg of a sin, here is a nugget of wisdom I unearthed:
"I say that we must talk ourselves out of allowing "ourselves" to talk to us! Do you realize what that means? I suggest that the main trouble in this whole matter of spiritual depression, in a sense, is this, that we allow our self to talk to us instead of talking to ourself. Take those thoughts that come to you the moment you wake up in the morning. You have not originated them, but they start talking to you, they bring back the problems of yesterday. Somebody is talking you. Your self is talking to you- Martin Lloyd-JonesMy self tells me quite frequently that I am entitled to my daily pleasures. But when my mind touches down on the duties of a mother--the challenging job of playing on their level, and nurturing them-- my self also tells me: "La, la, la, la-- I don't want to think about these things right now." So, what would happen if I began to interject. If I began to cut off those thoughts with these: "I am a mother. That is an honour bestowed upon me. By who? By my God. What can I do to give him the glory in it?"
Jones points to the psalmist who wrote: "Why art thou downcast, Oh my soul? Why so disturbed within me?" (Psalm 42) The psalmist is questioning himself. If we would only evaluate our every thought, reign them in, and then slap them into shape, how would our priorities shift? The apostle Paul says it's all possible. I have no choice but to believe him. I know we are no longer slaves to sin. We CAN talk ourselves out of sin and indulgence, and onto a right path by speaking God into our hearts. Jones finishes his thoughts:
Defy yourself, and defy other people, and defy the devil and the whole world, and say as this man; "I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance."This is the psalmist's endnote; "I will yet praise Him, my Saviour and my God." My heart is challenged to begin smacking my thoughts into the right gear, particularily the ones that great me when I wake up. Rather than lying in bed, indulging in the formulation of a list of all the pleasures the day holds for me, I will seek to put forth my God, and all things not-me first. In the healthiest sense do I say, it is time to start "talking to myself."