What do you want more of in your life? And what do you want less of?
If we wrote it all down, we’d probably need a ton of paper.
God needs just fourteen words. Eight in Hebrew. Four, if we leave out all the little bits.
Of course, I never leave anything out. Not when God reveals himself in each letter, word, and phrase. Not when they all add up to this resounding, astounding truth: he knows us, he loves us, and he wants what is best for us.
Here’s the thing: sometimes, best means less.
Better a little with the fear of the Lord
than great wealth with turmoil. Proverbs 15:16
Better a little…
Uh-oh. “Better to live with less” (VOICE) is not what our culture teaches us. In fact, “better to have little” (NLT) is the very opposite of what comes blaring out of our television sets or scrolling across our computer screens.
Instead, we hear, “Life is better with more. More money to buy more things to look more attractive to have more status to gain more attention to make more money to buy more things…”
This cycle isn’t just vicious, beloved. It’s dangerous. It’s deadly.
It’s everything the Lord doesn’t want for us.
He knows that riches, possessions, good looks, privilege, and fame are fleeting at best, and worthless in light of eternity.
So, he urges us to lead “a simple life” (MSG), free from striving after more, more, more. He assures us “it is better to be poor” (ERV) than to choke on the riches of this world.
The truth? What I’m writing here and what I’m living now aren’t remotely in sync.
The truth? I love more. My home, my body, and my calendar are living proof.
Even now, as my fingers move across the keyboard, God is pressing on my heart. His words are loving, but they are not subtle.
It’s not enough for you to read my Word.
When are you going to live my Word?
I desperately want to say, “Now, God.” But what comes out is, “How, God? How do I—how do all of us—stop wanting more?”
His answer is swift and sure: “How wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ” (Ephesians 3:18). That’s more, all right. It covers everything.
His love is more than enough.
His grace is more than sufficient.
His mercy is more than we deserve.
His power is more than we can imagine.
His loving-kindness makes a change of heart and a change of how possible.
The Hebrew word translated here as better means “beautiful, pleasant agreeable.” God has something better for us, something beautiful, something more. Our little becomes much as we see him high and lifted up.
…with the fear of the Lord…
When we’re scared, we run, we hide, we look the other way.
That’s not what God wants.
He wants us to run toward him, to fix our eyes on him, to be overwhelmed by his beauty. To whisper in amazement, “Who is like you—majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?” (Exodus 15:11). To worship him with our lives and honor him with our obedience.
When we experience a “reverent, worshipful fear of the Lord” (AMP), when we “respect” (ERV) his Word and “honor the Eternal” (VOICE), it’s easier to sort out our selfish wants from our genuine needs. Our more from our less.
“Let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe” (Hebrews 12:28). He is more than worthy of our praise. He is more than due our adoration.
God deserves to be first. Above things. Above people. Above all.
…than great wealth…
So, is money on your “What I Want More Of” list? God understands. We need a certain amount of fundage just to feed, clothe, and shelter those we love. Proverbs 15:16 says, “better to have a little” (GW), not “better to have nothing.”
It’s great wealth he is cautioning us about—living “a rich life” (MSG) and counting on our “treasure” (AMP) to make us happy. The Lord knows better. We know better.
The same televisions that urge us to buy more, more, more also show us news stories of the rich and famous who are utterly miserable. Wealth can solve a few day-to-day problems, but it’s a poor salve for heartache or disappointment.
“Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done
and what I had toiled to achieve,
everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind;
nothing was gained under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 2:11).
Yes, we’ve been there.
The inheritance money that turned siblings into enemies.
The full bank account that couldn’t make up for an empty life.
The new job with better pay that ended up costing far too much.
Call it “inner turmoil” (NLT) or “tumult” (YLT) or just plain “trouble” (ASV), no one wants it. A big house, a fine ride, and a closet full of designer clothes are no prize when they’re “coupled with worry” (CJB) and produce “a ton of headaches” (MSG).
We usually think we’ll be the exception. If a fortune came my way, I’d know how to spend it wisely. Then the money appears, and our best intentions go right out the window.
He’s helping. Right here, in this verse. Giving us a heads-up, sparing us discovering that when we chase after riches we’ll have to “carry the burdens that come with them” (VOICE). Showing us the truth: “It’s better to obey the Lord than to be very rich and terribly confused” (CEV).
We’re listening, Lord. Truly, we are.
We’ve chased after the wrong things long enough.
We know what it means to feel “unfillable” (WYC).
We’d rather be filled with awestruck wonder.
We’d rather be filled with you.
Better a little with the fear of the Lord
than great wealth with turmoil. Proverbs 15:16
Now it’s your turn
- What do you want more of in your life?
- And what do you want less of?
Kindly respond via Post a Comment below. I’m continuing to pray through your many tender comments from last week’s study. It means so much when you share what’s on your heart.
For those who are memorizing each verse (so proud of you), or who like posting them where you can see them, here’s your Printable of Proverbs 15:16 (bless you for your patience as it downloads). The dozen verses we’ve studied so far also await you on Pinterest.
Sending warm thoughts your way this Wednesday.
Your sister, Liz
P.S. Thanks for celebrating the release of Mercy Like Sunlight with me this week!
I want more of You, Lord… I wanna feel close to you again… so close you shield me from all the harm in the world… guarding my heart, mind, body, and soul…
struggling this week and I need more of Him
Laura, I always see the need for of Him in stress and peace. He is my rock, solid and always there.
I want a lot of things. I want a home that we can afford. I want my love to grow for the Lord, my family and me. I want to trust, believe, rely and hope in the Lord. I want to worship and rejoice in Him and to share His joy. I want the closeness in walking with Him and talking to him and His helping me to listen and hear Him. I NEED more of Him. Thank you Lord that you know me, my coming in and going out. That I call on you, then you are there. Thank you for your gracious love. Thank you for your powerful word. In the name of your son, Jesus I pray, and give thanks.
Wow. The Lord’s timing, as always, is perfect. My husband signs up for voluntary overtime on a regular basis. Normally he limits it to Saturday and takes Sunday off. We go to church and then do something as a family. However, he opted to work Saturday and Sunday both so its a 13 day stretch with no days off. That’s nothing compared to military families but I feel it was unnecessary to work that many days. My son looked at me tearfully and asked why Daddy doesn’t have time for him. I have been sharing this study with my husband all along but today really hit home. I want more time for our family to grow together as a family in Christ.
I desperately want less anxiety–some days are better than others. I know the verses–the PROMISES–from God that assure me HE is enough. I know that He has promised me life abundant, but I so often want to be in control. Or feel I need to be in control. So what is there for the more? I want more of the “peace that passes all understanding”–more of Him.
Yes, Ma’am! Less is certainly more. Shortly after turning my life back to the Lord, my family and I went through Financial Peace University. We paid off $97,000 of debt in 23 months. Although I’m not proud of the amount of debt, I am proud of how we got rid of it. We couldn’t do it alone. We turned to our Mighty God for help every step of the way. We surrendered to Him and we did it! However this love and devotion we have for Jesus was too much for the enemy to handle and he came with guns blazing. Both my retinas detached a few times that first year after paying off our debt. Today I can see but I’ve lost partial vision in one eye. The funny thing is that I’ve never been able to see as clearly as I do now. Yes, His love is more than enough. His grace is more than sufficientHis mercy is more than we deserve. His power is more than we can imagine!
What a great accomplishment and a facing off against the enemy.
What peace you must have.
Liz, I want more of God, more quiet time. That’s up to me. I know that. I can do this.
What I want LESS of is fear and worry; my mama worried; my brother worries; Sometimes fear grips me in the pit of my stomach so hard it hurts and I go all cold and jerky. I definitely want NONE of that. Our pastor preached on a subject, ‘What are you Withholding From God?’ I’m withholding my faith that He will take care of me no matter what.
This burdens me so much, that I live with this fear and worry. In fact, I’m weeping now, just admitting it to you. I know my life is not totally pleasing to God when I harbor this fear and worry.
I thank you for your prayers. I covet them. I’m too old for such fear.
Susan ~ I could have written every word you just wrote. The fear and worry totally control my life. God has given me 2 passages of scripture, Prov. 3:5-18 and Jeremiah 17:5-10. The Lord showed me how I was relying on myself (HA!) and other people rather then putting my entire hope and trust in Him. This just happened last week, so I am still very early in the stages of turning this around. I am also seeking wise council from a Godly woman. The last line of yours about pierced my heart, because I have been saying the same thing….I am too old for this. I will pray for you…could you please do the same for me? Blessings sister!! <3 <3
I want God’s presence, i want to experience more of his love, i want to know more of God. I want less of pride, jealousy,fear,uncertainty,worries. I Just need more of God’s personality in my life
how wise of you, Debbie.
I read this after going shopping on my lunch break. I so wish I had read this reminder before! I bought something on clearance because it was pretty, even though I knew I didn’t need it. I feel I do well with this philosophy overall, but do take a step or two off the right path now and then! Thanks for keeping us grounded.
Thank you, Liz for your wonderful words, your insite and wisdom that I know comes from God. Today’s Proverb and your comments were especially meaningful to me today. As I launch my new book “Measures of Passion” much of my thoughts have been on the possible success of the book, and what that will mean to me financially. “Will it help pay a big debt?” “Will it provide funds for a nice vacation?” “What will I gain?” Thank you for helping me put my focus and “wants” in proper perspective. I know God will provide all my needs and bless my efforts. What more do I need?
Closed my department at work after 30 yrs. – wow !! I did not think so at the time but I think I went into depression. I shop different, I dress different and I look at the world different. I love nice things, who doesn’t , but I have become closer to God, learned more than all the previous years put together. God has provided for me in every situation, when people ask me questions, I answer “God is my provider” I want to be more like Jesus, to feel love so deep that is controls me. Your lesson today was awesome !!!
This was great Liz! I want more love in my life, not that kind of love…:) I want to have more love in my heart. I may not look like I need more love, to most people…I LOVE my God, I love my kids, I really love my 6 awesome grandkids :), I love my best friends, I love my mom !, I love my husband (of 39 years, most of the time ;)), …but I want to feel the love of the Lord in my heart more deeply for them…I think that’s what it is..I just want to feel my love for them much deeper…not sure what that means, but I would know when I ‘felt’ it. I think I need less of stuff. I have not really shopped for ‘things’ for a couple of years, or clothes either because I was waiting for my SS check to start coming in, and I wanted to be a good steward of what He has blessed us with already. And now that the SS is here, I am really not spending it on stuff, but trying to bless others as much as possible with it. And I’m trying to have less of the stuff we already own… By tomorrow we will own 3 houses. Not our real design, we are really trying to have only 1 home to live in and care for, and share with our adult daughter and 2 awesome grandkids. I thank the Lord for giving us wisdom to invest wisely and He has provided for us much more than I ever imagined. And soon we will hopefully move to just the one home, and I’m praying our daughter and 2 wonderful grandkids will also move with us. They have lived with us for about 2 years, and the kids’ father recently passed away, so we travel between our two homes, being the kids support team. God is always so good and I know will answer our prayers. His Word gives me life every day! Thanks for your encouraging words today Liz.
Bless you much!
I want more of God in my life and less of me. The older I get the more I realize that this world is passing away but the things of God will be for eternity. I am slowly learning to trust Him because He will never fail to provide for our needs. God is so good!
Dear Lord God, I want more of you and less of me. I want to see your wonderment in everything I do. I want to know you better. Help me Lord! I want to bring you honor and glory by the words I say and write, by the pictures I photograph and especially by the way I live my life. Amen.
As I read everyone else’s comments, one verse comes to mind. He must become greater and I must become less. I think that’s what we all need. Its getting there that’s difficult. Less stuff less fleshly junk and more Him. Thanks Liz
I agree,Jaime, that’s the verse I often remind myself with also. Thank you for posting it.
I came to the realization a long time ago that it’s “just stuff.”
Twenty years ago I was told I had breast cancer and it had spread. During this time I did a lot of soul searching. I told God I didn’t know what was going to happen, but, He did. I gave my cancer to God and asked him to just help me through this time. I never once worried about anything. That was God’s doing not mine–I tend to be a worry wart.
I wanted “stuff” just like other people I knew. The purpose of me telling you this is that I learned I had the most precious things in life already–God’s love and the love of my family. This is the “stuff” that’s really worth something.
I may be considered poor by worldly standards, but, I’m rich in God’s love.
PS: I guess you’ve guessed the outcome of my cancer. I celebrated 20 years of being cancer free this year. I guess God knew I had more things I needed to do here.
After losing my 21 year old daughter 4 years ago, I sunk into a deep greiving time and got caught up in satisfying my loss with the gaining of more stuff. The shopping therapy kept me from going crazy! I couldnt even seek the Lord or read the Bible. I couldnt keep my attention enough to do so….sooooo I put on worship music and shopped. Now after 4 years, I can read the Bible, pray and think a little bit better but I want more of You Lord! More satisfaction and comfort in what You accomplished at
the cross for me. To live in the knowledge of Christ’s redemption. To be completely satisfied with You Lord and to let go of the stuff. Help me to always seek Your face and not Your hand! To be content with what I have and the strength and knowledge to simplify my life. Its all about You Lord and the people You put in my life….things do not satisfy…relationships do! Guess I had to learn the hard way but I thank You for staying by my side and leading me through….being Faithful even when I couldn’t! 🙂
Hey! First-I want about 30 pounds less of me! That would be really great, but I know I have to do that -no one else can so I ask The Lord to help me. More- I want more time , time with my husband, oh how I love our time together! More time with family, it’s just the best when we can be altogether! And I want to be closer to God, so close that I hear His every request. I obey His every word. I trust Him everyday, I seek Him first.
I SO hear that!!! I think Liz is 100% accurate in Bad Girls when she said the forbidden fruit may have been Godiva chocolates. Keep praying and know you aren’t alone. We may have to do it ourselves but we can pray for and encourage each other.
I began reading Eph. 3:14-21 this week-end, what a confirmation. More of Him of course, less of me. The aging process brings lots of challenges and I find myself becoming overwhelmed at times, then I remember his grace is sufficient. I also want a little part-ime job to supplement social security, meeting one’s needs rather than wanting more stuff. Liz, thank you always, you encourage & inspire. God Bless.
I definitely want more of you Lord. I want more of my time and energy to be spent in seeking you and your righteousness. I want more of my family to know what it means to have a relationship with you Lord. I want more boldness in speaking to them about your plan for their lives. I want my nephew to be delivered from his heroine addiction before it kills him.I want him to find you and I want him to” want to live”. Please pray for Sean.
Have prayed and continue to pray for your son Sean.
Just like all of you, I want less of me and more of Him. This is a journey that we’re on and thinking of it like that, I guess we need to wait a lot on our Lord and turn it over to Him to bring us through it day by day. He is the one that will bring us into perfection and that will not be until the end of our journey(I’m thinking).
More of the fruit of the Spirit. More love, more joy, more peace, more patience, more kindness, more goodness, more faithfulness, more gentleness, more self-control. More power of the Holy Spirit working in and through me. I want less of my flesh.
I want balance and discipline. I want clarity. I want to look more like Jesus to others…not just pretty talk. I want to use my creative gifts. I want to bloom and may be I am not ready but I am soon 60. I know it all hinges on more time alone with Him in His word…but I am honestly distracted by life and sometimes life yells louder than God whispers. though His whisper is compelling and wooing. Knowing He loves me and forgives me… I am still disappointed in myself. And sometime I think He is too….not sure. I cling to His love.
I want more authentic Christian fellowship to help me grow in the Lord. I am not talking about church or group study where it is all head knowledge with little heart knowledge. I am talking about interaction that is based on trust and genuine desire to see God’s will in lives and support spiritual growth in each other. I find this type of interaction energizes my prayer life and Bible Study and I am blessed to have friends who provide authentic Christian fellowship but I want more. This is the first Proverb reading and I loved it…very timely. Thank you, Liz!
Perfect. I have been memorizing a verse per month. I wish I could say that I have been more ambitious. I grew up in a church, with mo scripture, so at 52, I’m learning. This verse is perfect.
God spoke to me in January and February, but I just couldn’t cling to one in March. This is it. Thanks you, Liz. I’ve enjoyed this series.
Thank you so much for this study. I so appreciate it in a world that screams “be more, do more, have more” from noon ’til night. I desire to be a woman of contentment who thanks the Lord for who HE is, what HE’S done and what HE’S given.
More Jesus!!!! More patience and love toward others. More time to be in God’s Word. Less worldly things!!!! Less rat race. Less time spent on things that take up more time than I realize. We just had revival at our church and I want more boldness to step out of the boat like Peter did. Sure he didn’t stay focused, but look who rescued him. We need to reach out and step out on faith in the name of Christ, the blessings will come, God knows our every need (which usually doesn’t align with our every want). He will provide! Love your blog, as always it is thought provoking and inspirational.
This is going to sound strange, and maybe a bit off topic, but I want less bushes. My winter project this year was cutting down four evergreen bushes that have dwelt next to my house since I moved in. I’m sure at one time they were quite lovely, but they grew into wild, untamed things. They might have been intended for other reasons, but they’re pretty much spider condominiums once the weather warms up. They’re chock full of the eight-legged creatures. Fast ones with eerie webs. And they just give me the heebie jeebies. This was the year I drew a line in the sand and said no more.
A few afternoons snipping, chopping, sawing, and hauling…the monstrosities have been evicted. (Along with their unwelcome inhabitants.) It’s amazing how clean and open and approachable my house looks now! And as I was unloading the last glorious load of branches and brambles at the dump, I started wondering if I had any bushes in my mental house. Thoughts or memories or stories or tendencies that I might mean for one reason, but just end up becoming shelter for creepy crawly thoughts instead. I want less of that kind of internal dialogue.
I want to be able to give myself more grace. It’s so easy for me to read promises in God’s word, and picture them for other people. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that they apply to me too. His extravagant love. His patience. His grace. His peace. His joy. His strength. It’s not just for others. It’s for me too. I want more of that.
Less bushes. More grace.
I want to give up my bitterness and unforgiving heart. I want to give over my anxiety and depression and lay them at Jesus feet. I want to walk in humility of self and learn
how to walk with and love others as I forgive them.
Liz, thank you for getting me through this winter in better spiritual shape than when
I started it. God’s blessings, I’m glad God saved you with your gifts.
In God’s hands, I am Chris
Family healing,years of hurt,anger,and just stop seeing each other.please Lord only you can heal this hurt and bring love back into this family in Jesus name amen.
I want less criticism in my life and more of God. My husband is very negative and critical. I pray that The Lord will change him. More love and gentleness 🙂
Liz, I’m just going to be real. I totally agree with all of this, but our family has been claiming a debt free life in the name of Jesus and we believe it is going to happen. We also pray for prosperity for we have gone from having much for ourselves to having little and now want to do great things for others in the name of Jesus! We had it all in 2006. Our dream home on a golf course, new cars each year, great jobs, a healthy 2 year old daughter, great clothes and then it all ended in one night. My 27 year old husband didn’t feel well and days later he was diagnosed with congestive cardiomyopathy and told he would never work again and may not survive. Our entire lives changed and so did our way of thinking about things and money. You see, no amount of money on earth could have saved my husband. Yes, before this we had been saved and went to God when it was convenient for us, but He was not the Master of our lives. But, let me assure you, He became that quickly for we saw He was our only help or hope in the darkest days of our life. In the years that passed, we watched as God became our provider. We never did without and not one bill went unpaid. I can only tell you that the money came each time supernaturally. A school teacher salary doesn’t keep a family going that was used to an income that was nearly triple that amount. We continued to not only see God provide our needs but also our wants. We went on vacations that we could never have even afforded before my husband was sick! Gifts from the Lord came right and left and continue to even today! Brian is much better today but is still not able to work. In the fall of 2013 God told us both separately that if we wanted to see Him continue to move in our lives we would have to take the largest step of obedience in our lives and move away from all or friends and family and security and trust only HIM! Well, we did not knowing where He would take us. I began to apply for jobs all across the United States until one day Liberty University called me and the rest has been God’s plan. I am now a research librarian and associate professor living in Lynchburg, Va. It has been the most amazing and exciting adventure of our lives. God has provided each of our needs and again, even our wants! We continue to pray for all of our debts to be paid so that we will have even more freedom to do for others in His name for that is our hearts’ desire. We experience pure joy that only comes from Jesus each time we are able to bless others and explain to them that it is from Him and not us. We love to give because for so long we had to learn to receive, which was one of the hardest lessons we had to learn. We long to do amazing things for others, ministries and for things God tells us to do which may not be part of our plan. We still long for more but the reasons why are so very different!
As I grow older, I believe less is more as far as “things” go, I want to get rid of “stuff” I want more of the Lord, more time with Him, to learn more, to love more, more time with my husband and family. More time to help others. TIME is so precious, I have all I “need” and so much more, but some how “time” often escapes me. That’s my prayer, more time, less stuff.
Dear Liz, I’m finding it difficult to memorize the passages if it is not a KJV version…I feel that other versions delete words or passages…eg I’m complete in Him Col 2:10…
Thank you so much for giving to the Lord, because your giving touches so many lives…including mine. I finished Mercy Like Sunlight Thursday morning. It spoke volumes to my heart.
I want God’s peace and wisdom; most of all His love. I want my son, nephews and nieces to know Christ as their Savior in a very personal way. I truly want God to heal me…if necessary, leading me to the correct Dr. to help. It’s been a year, and I’m getting worse, not better…I want to see the lesson He has for me in this. At this point, hitting me over the head with it would NOT be out of line! I want to fall into that fabulous “rut” I used to be in and complain about! Praise God for everything. I know He is with me..I just feel so distant sometimes….
I want more joy and fulfillment. I want more from my husband. I want less busyness and less insecurity. For it all, I just need more of the Lord, to trust more in Him, to love Him first and most, to place Him front and center. Thanks, Lizzie.
Love everything you’ve written 🙂 Certainly there are lots of ‘things’ I would like to have and do, or ‘places’ I’d like to be or see. But nothing compares with Jesus! I want more of HIm, to be closer in every moment of every day. I wish I could be a better servant. Ahhh come Lord Jesus…..
This really hits home for me. We are currently so far gone with debt and financial burdens that it’s coming to the end of our home and I fear our marriage – definitely experiencing that “turmoil”
Simplicity and more time in Nature observing the beauty and miracles God created.A walk in the woods is good therapy.
I want more understanding of the Scriptures and to be a better witness and encourager to family and friends….. To find the right words to spread Gods word.
Liz you always have the right words, your sense of humor and knowledge….what a combo.
I want more of Jesus everyday.I want less of anything that gets in the way of that!