Bargains are a curse too.

Just like judging is a curse, and getting-or-wanting-my-way is a curse.  A bargain seems so noble, so frugal, so worthy.  Problem is, bargains are ADDICTIVE.  Like other addictions, you become obsessive, and they become all-consuming, where you spend inordinate amounts of time researching to find the very-best purchase: price, condition, quality, whatever.  A purchasing regret is anathema — a purchasing success, exacerbates the addiction. Addictions are irrational.

“Hello, my name is Dave, and I’m addicted to finding bargains when I need to make a purchase.  I frequently spend as much time online researching a five-dollar purchase as a five-hundred-dollar purchase.  Irrational.  I stand before you tonight, not to help YOU folks, but to help ME.  I need to be confessing to you that I’m an addict.  Confessing reminds me of reality, and I need reality.  I need to come here every Tuesday night and stand up here and tell you about me, so I don’t live in denial.  I’ve come to conclude that I have an addictive personality.  It’s a good thing I’m not addicted to alcohol, or drugs, but perhaps those would be easier to manage.  I dunno.  I can tell you this. I feel powerless to conquer my bargain-addiction.  You fellow bargain-addicts won’t laugh, but others who do not have this addiction, may find it amusing.  They have no clue how hard it is for a bargain-addict to pay list price, average price. Probably because they are healthier emotionally/spiritually than I am.  Not proving-addicts like I am.”

Well, I’ve never been to a 12-step meeting, but that’s how I imagine my participation.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, championing Gospel-awareness, self-awareness, and sovereignty-awareness, so we Christians might have integrity with seculars, so we might have something they want

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Getting-or-wanting-my-way is a curse,

not a blessing.  WHAT?  Yup.  Pathway to miserable addiction.  Getting-my-way THWARTED by Jesus, is an enormous blessing, because it opens the door to my being retrained in a much-better way of living — disillusioned in my flesh’s confidence-it-knows-what’ll-make-me-happy.  But getting-my-way thwarted by Jesus is ONLY an enormous blessing when I’m convinced that getting-or-wanting-my-way is a curse.

I know, sounds crazy.  All my life, and all my Christian life, I’ve gotten this backwards.  I think we’ve all gotten it backwards.  I know, sounds so radical, so unAmerican, unChristian.

Think about it.  When I get-my-way, it feels good, and like any addiction, I want more of this.  And more, and more.  In time, I grow addicted to control, addicted to getting-my-way.  My independence is strengthened/encouraged, my flesh’s confidence-it-knows-best is strengthened/encouraged.  I’m wiser and wiser in my own eyes, lean even more on my own understanding.  This is the Curse of INdependence passed down to the descendants of Adam and Eve.  We INdependents are a miserable lot, and I’m convinced that most of us, Christian and nonChristian, live in denial of the extent of our misery.

And every time I want-my-way, I return to life under the Curse.  Miserable existence.  And every time I’m freshly convicted of my INdependence, and embrace Jesus’ genius plan, want HIS way, trust Him to lead the way, confess I dunno best, I’m moved out from under the Curse, momentarily.  Ahhh, relief.

Impossible to be in a hurry, unless I’m wanting-my-way.  Impossible to be frustrated unless I’m wanting-my-way. Impossible to be competitive, to wannabe superior, unless I’m wanting-my-way.  Impossible to analyze, critique, judge, unless I’m wanting-my-way, confident-I-know-what’s-best.

Getting-my-way is not a bad thing, but it’s a mini-success, and like big success, it’s not a bad thing, but verrry dangerous to the health of my soul.  Strengthens my INdependency, my addiction to my confidence-I-know-what’ll-make-me-happy.  Miserable addiction.

So helpful lately, as I go through my day reminding myself over and over, “Getting-or-wanting-my-way is a curse.”

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, championing Gospel-awareness, self-awareness, and sovereignty-awareness, so we Christians might have something the seculars around us want

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I don’t need different circumstances,

easier circumstances, better circumstances — I need a different Dave — a Dave content with Jesus and the circumstances He’s carefully crafted for Dave, needing nothing more, nothing different.

So, why hasn’t Jesus given me easier circumstances?  Because He’s using the harrrd, the suffering, to retrain me in a better way of living — from dependent on Dave, confident-I-know-what’s-best, what’s-thankable-and-what’s-not, to dependent on Jesus, clueless-I-know-what’s-best, trusting that Jesus DOES.  And THANKing Him for everything just as it is, and everyone just as we are.

My flesh would have me believe I’d be happIER if I lived out west, where the sky is big, the sun shines most of the time, it’s warmer, and there are FEW CARS on the road.  My flesh knows NOTHing about how to engineer happiness for me, but it THINKS it does. I don’t need a different place to live: I need a different Dave, who lives where I live, facing all I face, with surprising joy and peace, THANKing Jesus for the harrrd because I believe in Jesus’ sovereign-and-loving reign over every detail of my life.  So I’ll have something seculars want.

And Jesus has me living in congested, cloudy, SE Pennsylvania, and has me feeling rotten physiologically some of the time, to retrain me further in Jesus-dependency, so I care LESS and LESS about the things my flesh believes will make Dave happy.  Jesus is making me a different Dave — a thanking Dave, and it’s painful to be overhauled in order to experience a better life, but it’s beneficially painful, lovingly painful. Actually, wonderfully painful.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships

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When I read the Bible,

it’s so helpful when I remember that I’m not ALONE, that it’s not up to ME to figgeritallout perfectly, and that my interpretation/understanding is not up to ME — that Jesus is totally sovereign over every detail of my life, including my biblical understanding.  Ahhh, s’wunnerful to rest in the sovereign reign of my ShepherdJesus. Blissful peace. Not alone and not up to me.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, who is only curious and expectant to see what his SovereignShepherdJesus does NEXT, in him, others, circumstances, when freshly convicted of the sin of independence/confidence-he-knows-what’s-best, so he’s freshly enabled to thank Him for everyone just as they are, and everything just as it is, all according to His genius plan

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The BEST-case scenario,

is what Jesus has for me, right now, in these present circumstances.  NOOOO.  My flesh thinks the BEST-case scenario is…easy…things going MY way, as judged by my flesh.  Dave’sFlesh is confident-it-knows-what’s-best, but in reality, it dunno nuttin about what’s best for me, or others.  Dave’sFlesh LOVES feeling great physiologically, free of pain with gobbsa energy, strength, confidence.  Ummm, sweet.   But Jesus sometimes thwarts the desire of my flesh for easy, and instead, gives me harrrd.  My flesh HATES harrrd.  Fails to recognize that suffering comes from the hand of a loving Savior to retrain me in a much-better way of living — dependent on Him, curious and expectant to see what He does NEXT, in me, others, circumstances, THANKing Him for everything just as it is, and everyone just as we are.   Jesus-dependency is the pearl of great price, worth selling all to get.   Whatever it takes, Lord, that’s what I want more than anything else in this world.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, being dragged along kicking and screaming through the sanctification process, wondering if the seculars around him are noticing any difference

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I deserve BETTER.

I’m not a contented follower of Jesus.  I feel ENTITLED to better than what I have, physically, emotionally, spiritually, financially, relationally, vocationally, and for SURE, automotively.  I’m like Oliver Twist in the orphanage — I want MORE.  Jesus is not ENOUGH for me.  I want MORE.  I want BETTER.  I DESERVE better.  I feel ENTITLED to better.  Or so my flesh is convinced.  I’m not a humble man.  I’m not an enjoyer of others just as they are.  I’m their critic, judge, looking for ways to feel superior to them.  I LOVE people watching, because I discover fresh, new ways to feel SUPERIOR to other humans.  Ummm.  My flesh DELIGHTS in feeling superior.

Utterly impossible to feel superior unless I’m confident-I-know-what’s-best, INdependent not dependent on Jesus.  Wise in my own eyes, leaning on my own understanding.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, a great example of a bad example of a Jesus follower, ever needing fresh conviction of the sin of INdependence, and also needing reminders that grace is for BIG sinners like Dave

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My life is UP TO DAVE,

when my reality is informed by my eyes and ears.  But when my reality is informed by Scripture, my life is up to my SovereignShepherdJesus.  I’m not MY problem, but His problem.  It’s not MY reign, but His reign.  Ahhh.  So thankful for His growing me more-and-more aware of my INdependency, because Jesus-dependency is the pearl of great price, worth selling all to get.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, slowly becoming distrustful of his eyes and ears, and slowly becoming more peaceful, because of the convicting work of the Spirit

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I don’t need a different car —

I need a different DAVE.  My flesh imagines I would be happier with a different car.  But I already HAVE a great car, and it hasn’t made me content.  I need a different DAVE.  A Dave who is CONTENT with the car he HAS, with the body he has, with the maturity he has, with the health he has, with the savings he has, with the LIFE he has.  How can I get a different Dave?  Impossible for me to make happen.  I’ve TRIED.  But one thing I CAN do, is to THANK Him that I’m NOT a different Dave, NOT content, just as I am, just the way He’s made me, and THANK Him that I want something MORE than Jesus and His imputed worthiness.  How humiliating.  But.  A Dave who is HONEST with his God and himself, who comes clean about his neediness, will be a happier, more-contented believer.  And I’ve experienced this.  It’s TRUE.  But I keep forgetting.  I keep forgetting that my flesh dunno nuttin about how to make me happy, even though it THINKS it does.  My biggest need is not a different car, but a different Dave, so I don’t CARE about the things that consume my flesh.

So that’s why I call my car my “training wheels”, because Jesus is USING time spent in my car all alone, to grow my self-awareness, opening my eyes afresh to see more clearly my car idolatry, retraining me in cluelessness-I-know-what’s-best, so I’m increasingly SKEPTICAL of my flesh’s confidence-it-knows-how-to-make-me-happy.  I love shouting out, “So WHAT, Dave’sFlesh?” when I’m all alone in my car driving, and suddenly aware of being wooed into thinking, “Look there’s a different car that might work, might make me happIER.”  Jesus is using my training wheels to make me a different Dave, so I don’t need a different car.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, a pathetic practicer of what he preaches, but enormously encouraged that grace is for sinners/failures/losers — great examples of bad examples, encouraged that grace flows downhill to those at the bottom who are freshly aware of their NEED for grace, because of the convicting work of the Holy Spirit

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