“You are a stumbling block to me; you are not setting your mind on God's interests, but man's” (Matt. 16:23). Those are questionably the most severe words Jesus ever spoke to one of the Disciples. It certainly makes me wonder if I take this warning against earthly interests seriously enough. The difficulty, of course, is that earthly interests don’t seem sinful. On another occasion, Jesus called them the “pleasures of life,” warning that they choke out the Word of God so it cannot bear fruit in your life (Luke 8:14).
In his book “A Hunger for God,” John Piper says the greatest obstacle to our hunger for God is “not a poison apple; it’s apple pie.” It’s true. We tend to dismiss the peril of pleasures. I think one of the main impediments to taking care of our heart may be the time we spend taking care of our body, house, yard, and car. But it is only when these simple pleasures of life replace our love, time, devotion, and appetite for God that they put us at risk of setting our mind on man's interests. John Piper describes these pleasures of life as an “idolatry that is scarcely recognizable.” Harsh words!
Pease don’t think that I am suggesting we stop enjoying life and take vows of poverty. But I am going to be taking a close look at my pleasures to see if there might be any that are silently "choking" me to death!