Watch small children at play and human nature’s tendency to possessiveness becomes strikingly obvious. From infancy, a baby’s strong, instinctively grasp is one of the first expressions of their individuality. Toys teach us the concept of personal ownership and the challenge of sharing, (a lesson some never perfect). And try battling with siblings; the crash course in personal space preservation! Before we’re very old at all, we have entirely clear perception of what is ‘mine’.
This is not our fault. Distinctiveness is strongly and innately stamped upon our subconscious, the substance of our very DNA. Born are we, to be different from one another; deliberately and decisively unique. Our existence on the planet is not only shaped in eternity, but divinely calibrated for a singular time and place on the earth, making us completely irreplaceable. Our looks, voice, fingerprints and the mark we make on the world can never be duplicated.
“Mine”. What belongs to me, and only me. This is territory I fight for, and defend with passionate, profound jealously in my entire being, as necessary as the air I breathe. Attack my basic rights as an individual or my ego’s sense of itself, and you will wake the sleeping dragon.
While it’s normal and healthy to have a strong sense of ourselves, we get caught up in our dog-eat-dog world, where worth is measured by the status and acquisitions we attain. We crave and covet and stockpile. We compare. We desperately keep up with the Jones'. Inevitably, man’s ego defaults into pride and greed. The problem with ‘mine’ is that we forget that long ago, someone else had a prior claim. The Lord's 'mine' is older than ours.
For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, that flow out of valleys and hills; a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey;…
12… lest—when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them; 13 and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold are multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied; 14---then your heart is lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God…
17 then you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth.’
In our life-long quest for identity, we can go off the deep end. Education, ambition, achievement, success and ‘stuff’ can make us forget we really belong to the Lord, along with every other good thing. We are His. Creatures created by God, and entrusted for a very special and specific purpose; our true destiny gets lost in the shuffle. Objects of His most ardent and unfailing attention and affection, we are the Beloved, and we'd better not forget it. Jesus says it best with his words from John 6:38.
For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.
For at least thirty years, I have longed with a deep, unwavering longing for a home of my own. My desire went one way, and my life went another. It simply was not in the plan, and every time I tried to grasp it in my own strength, I came away with a handful of thorns. I ask myself with utter perplexity why this simple request, so close to a woman’s heart, should be so difficult an ask. Time and again, He’s asked me to lay it down for the agenda of a season. So, I hold on tight to the promise.
Peter tried another angle: “We left everything and followed you.”
Jesus said, “Mark my words, no one who sacrifices house, brothers, sisters, mother, father, children, land—whatever—because of me and the Message will lose out. They’ll get it all back, but multiplied many times in homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and land—but also in troubles. And then the bonus of eternal life!
Mark 10:28-31 Message
What have you deeply desired that you've had to lay down? The hardest discipline of spiritual life is exchanging your ‘mine’ for His ‘mine’. The dream in your heart may literally wait decades in fulfillment. But the Lord promises that if you’ll put Him first, He’ll give you everything you desire and more besides. He’ll transform your entire understanding of possessions and ownership.
So a book of remembrance was written before Him For those who fear the Lord And who meditate on His name.
“They shall be Mine,” says the Lord of hosts, “On the day that I make them My jewels. And I will spare them As a man spares his own son who serves him.” Malachi 3:16-17 NKJV
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