An Armload of Nothing
Jim Lucas   -  

The Big Idea of this study is that our desires need to be kept in check by our will which needs to be in line with the will of Jesus.

I believe Confucius had it right when he wrote: “By three methods we may learn wisdom: First by reflection, which is the noblest, second is by imitation, which is the easiest, and third by experience, which is the bitterest.”  Scripture encourages us to learn wisdom by the first two methods. Our proverb this week challenges us to be careful about what we desire. It contrasts the desire to follow the ways of sinners and the desire to follow God’s will.  

Sin is that which is harmful to us and others and detestable to God. The reason it is detestable to God is that it is harmful to his creation. Sin is not attractive. In fact it is ugly.  The only reason we are attracted to evil people or evil things is that our desires have focused on them and we unthinkingly follow our desires. But if our wills are focused on the Lord and his will, then we will filter our desires through that grid and reject those things that do not line up with God’s purposes for us.

Our proverb gives us the motivation to do this: So that we don’t end up with an armload of nothing. So that we have a good future.  Our posture as we walk the pathway of life is to look up at the Lord and “fix our eyes on Jesus” and look forward to the future because God has a good plan in store for us.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Is it surprising that our desires may not be good for us?  Why do we so easily assume that what we want is good for us?
  2. How can your will be a filter for your desires? How do you make sure your will is submitted to the will of Jesus?
  3. Discuss sin as “that which is harmful to us and others and offensive to the Lord.”
  4. How much grief would be avoided if people would just pause and think about the consequences of their desires?  Why is this one of Satan’s favourite tricks?
  5. What promise is there in our proverb regarding the future? In contrast, what does that say about unrepentant sinners or those who follow the ways of “careless rebels?” (Eugene Peterson’s term)
  6. Take a moment to examine your strongest desires. Do they fit with what you know to be Jesus’ desire for you?