I'd like to say a few words about appreciation today. And no, not the kind of appreciation that my home's value is unlikely to be receiving lately. Google's definition is, "understanding of the nature or meaning or quality or magnitude of something." 'Understanding' here, to me, is more than just an acknowledgment of something we think is good or helpful, it is also the deep feelings of value associated with something.
For example, I find God's Law, the Bible, wisdom and other spiritual concepts to be good and helpful. But I seem to have a stronger emotional reaction to physical things, perhaps a nice condo at the Feast, a fancy sports car, a fine wine, expensive clothes or shoes, a quality vacation, etc. I'm not saying that the spiritual things aren't better, as they obviously are. I'm referring to the fact that given my actions, I seem to be more naturally drawn to the physical than the spiritual. That said, I also recognize that when the Holy Spirit is truly working with me, it's far and away the most powerful experience I've had. But over time, while the memory of that experience remains, the feelings fade, as it does with the physical.
This comes as no surprise to me when I think about it. But the problem I'm having is that I don't think about it all that much. Sure, I study, pray, try to find ways to serve and what not, but I still find the pulls of the flesh more tempting. In order to do these spiritual things, I've had to make them habitual. I've gotten to the point that I've derived real value out of these activities, but when push comes to shove, I'd rather go shop for a new stereo than read an extra couple of chapters. "Oh, you wanted to hang out tonight? Okay, I can fast some other time." And so forth.
In other words, I'm okay with the daily routine of prayer, Bible study, etc., but in order to grow my current plateau, I think I need to increase the worth I place on spiritually-based activities in order to increase the amount I want do them versus the purely physical--or the kinds of things that are simply carnal pleasures. Carnal doesn't necessarily mean bad things, just not things that help you grow in grace and knowledge. I figure if I learn to grow in my desire to do these spiritual tasks and perhaps lessen the excitement I feel for the others, I will choose the eternal over the temporary. Or to steal the other meaning of the word 'appreciate', which is to grow in value, I'll appreciate my appreciation.