Everyone has a little (or a lot) of Veruca Salt them

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If you have ever seen Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory then you have met the tenaciously abrasive Veruca Salt.  You know, the one that sings “Don’t care how, I want it now”?  Veruca has a stubborn will that could power a fleet of bullet trains, and she is definitely “worth her salt” when it comes to a self-centered existence.  
I have a 4 year old and she is very, very good at it.  (being a four year old, that is…)  We love her dearly and she is a precious gift from God.    Yet Gracie, like most little ones, is very passionate about her desires, and there are certainly times when she reminds me of Veruca.
Very much like Veruca, when Gracie determines what she wants; she goes for it.  She goes for it HARD even if it means pile driving her little brother OR even her big sister.  Gracie has decided that whining, yelling or as big sister puts it “screaming her head off” are all acceptable means to control people and situations with a single end purpose:  TO GET WHAT SHE WANTS.
Maybe you know lots of people like Gracie-and maybe they are not even 4 years old!  There are plenty of adults that employ the tactics Gracie uses to get what they want!  You know something I have learned?  They can’t help it. 
Did I just excuse them??  NO.  But what I am saying is that they are simply doing what comes naturally.
So yes, there have been times where I was the woman in Wal-Mart with the kid who is SCREAMING as loud as she can in order to get me to change my mind about buying that toy or candy she wanted.  (And no, in case you are wondering, she didn’t fall through the floor down to the garbage shoot like I may or may not have secretly wished would happen…) 
You see, just about the time that children discover they can communicate; they begin to assert their will.  Immediately you will find that children have one goal at heart.  They aim to please themselves.  They are self-centered little people without a concept that there is a whole big wide world out there that doesn’t even know they exist.  They just assume that everything and everyone exists forthem and to give them what they want.  This is just the mentality that makes us “love to hate” Veruca in the movie.  Sadly, many of us are just like her in real life.
Some may think, “So what?  They are kids.  They will ‘get over it’ or ‘grow out of it.’” 
I am sorry to tell you, that no one ever “gets over” being selfish.  Even the most seemingly giving and selfless person has his or her own interests at heart.  Even ME.  Even YOU.  Adults are self centered “big kids”.  The only difference is that we are just older; and we have gotten good at figuring out ways to make it okay.

Let’s rewind for a second…do you remember how last time we observed that the bible says that God exists and He made everything and everyone (me and you) for HIMSELF?  Well, since God is the boss, He owns the sole right to make any and ALL rules.  In fact, He has made a few rules.  So, we have to look at selfishness from at HIS perspective.

 Jas 4:1  What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?
Jas 4:2  You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask.
Jas 4:3  You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.
So, from reading this we can glean a few things.  I want stuff (passions, covet).  When I can’t get stuff, that wanting causes me to fight within myself as well as with others. 
It was almost like we read the “How to be an Effective Toddler” handbook.  Maybe Veruca had a copy all of her own!
Now, envision how Veruca and little Gracie behave when they don’t get what they want.  It isn’t pretty.  Take it a step further…how do YOU look when you don’t get what you want?  What comes out of you when your passions and desires are denied??  Anger?  Screaming?  Gossip?  Slander?  Physical harm to another?
This is why James says this in the next verses:
Jas 4:4  You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
Jas 4:5  Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”?
Jas 4:6  But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
Our “friendship”, fondness or love of the world (the world or the stuff in it) should not be placed above our love toward God. 
Back to Veruca.  She is not real, but the selfish character she displays IS real.  It is in us.  We can’t help it.  We want what we want and we will do whatever it takes to get it.  We will disobey parents, bosses, authorities, and even God.  That is a serious “fondness” or love for our own way! 
As I think of my little Gracie, she is so unrelenting at times.  It feels absolutely impossible to convince her of any point of view other than her own.  Like mother, like daughter I guess…I am EXACTLY like that.  But guess what?  I HATE it. 
So what is the point? 
The big lesson that I was hoping to share today is this:
As you look at yourself, do you see a little (or a lot) of Veruca or Gracie in the way you are?  Do you hate it?
Don’t worry; I am pretty sure the floor isn’t going to collapse beneath your feet and deposit you into a garbage shoot…yet…
The ultimate goal I have is to help you think about your selfishness in the way that God thinks about it.  Look at those verses from James again, and ask God to help you and transform your thinking.  Read the whole chapter or book, it can be helpful to do that too!
We should be as concerned with God’s desires as we are our own.  Actually, we should place them ABOVE our own desires. 
As we do that, He will kill off that little bit (or a lot) of Veruca Salt that we ALL have within us.

To be continued…..(see part two for the “rest of the story”)  🙂

Written that the name of Jesus would be praised,

photo/animated gif

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