Disordered Attachments

I have a vacuum with attachments. I’m not really sure what most of them are for. There is the pointy thing which can suck up cracker crumbs. Then there’s the other pointy thing that can suck up other types of crumbs. Then there is the flat-looking thing which can do something that the first two attachments cannot do…

The point is, they all have been created and they all have their place. The attachments enhance what the vacuum is able to do. Without the attachments, the vacuum can accomplish some tasks. With the attachments, the vacuum can accomplish more tasks.

In our lives, we have attachments. God has created a good world which enhances our experience as human beings. We become attached to those people and things which add value to our lives. And there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s a good thing.

It seems that more and more, Americans are becoming fascinated with TV shows that highlight how much junk we have and the need to get rid of it. I wonder why this is… I think it’s because we are coming to realize that we have a lot of disordered attachments. We become attached to things which we do not need and things which do not add any value to our lives. And maybe it makes us feel better about ourselves when we see someone who is in a worse predicament than we are.

As Christians, we must always be scanning our lives for disordered attachments. A disordered attachment is anything which may be intrinsically good, but we end up making it more important than God. Consider money, for example. There is nothing wrong with participating in the economy. There are even verses in the Bible which have good things to say about money. With money, we can do good things in Christ’s kingdom. But stop and think about all the people who have a disordered attachment to money. Or food. Or shopping. Or books. Or sex. Or sports. Or friendships. Or any number of countless other things.

When we have disordered attachments, we lose the freedom we have in Christ. Jesus came to set us free from sin that we might “become slaves to righteousness” (Rom 6:18). We know that it is impossible “to serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other” (Matt 6:24).

What are the attachments in your life? God has placed people, places, and things around you so that your life might be enhanced. But what are we doing with the attachments? Are we utilizing them as God intends, or have they become disordered attachments?

I read a quote recently which said, “The things you own end up owning you.”

Another teacher from long ago said something that sounds a bit similar. It was said to someone who had disordered attachments. "If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me" (Matt 19:21).