June 23, 2017

Good Things

Which makes more of an impact on you — suffering or sweetness? Good things or hard? Which one forces you to your knees?

Most of us would probably say suffering. Right? Hard times push us to urgently search His Word, and get more intimate in prayer. But why can’t good things do that, too? Why can’t blessings cause us to trust Him more, and find His sweet peace? Why can’t sweetness help us to abide under the shadow of His wings?

Good things are good things. They are gifts from a beneficent God, who loves His creation and wants to bless it bounteously. And we should enjoy those good things!

After all, He has personally chosen specific gifts for each one of us. He has personally decided on particular blessings for you, and for me, and for your sister-in-law, and for your neighbor down the street, and for your coworker’s uncle…

God leaves nothing to chance or randomness,
but rather controls every event that enters our lives. 
{tweet that!}

At the risk of sounding hedonistic — it’s foolish to deny ourselves pleasure, as long as that pleasure is within the boundaries of Scripture. In other words, if it glorifies God, then we should enjoy it!

If spending the day with your family in the park glorifies God by ministering to your family’s needs, refreshing your spirit, reminding you how wonderful beauty can be, turning your eyes to His goodness in creating such a beautiful world… then by all means, savor that day in the park with your family.

If cooking delicious gourmet food glorifies God by caring for your family, using your resources wisely, utilizing the talent He’s given you, making you more grateful for His provision… then by all means, savor those gourmet meals!

If escaping with a good (clean) novel glorifies God by helping you appreciate the talents He’s given others, showing you the creativity that He’s bestowed on mankind, expanding your mind, relaxing you… then by all means, savor those good books!

I think sometimes, as Christians, we feel guilty for enjoying life too much. We expect that life will include suffering — for, of course, Scripture promises that it will — and so we imagine that all of life should feel like suffering. We become “martyrs” to the cause of enjoying life. We refuse to find pleasure in all the good things God has given us.

I was reading Ecclesiastes this past week, as part of my journey through the Bible in 2013. And these verses from chapter 5 jumped out at me. I’d like to share them in the New Living Translation, because the meaning is so much clearer:

And it is a good thing to receive wealth from God and the good health to enjoy it.
To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life—this is indeed a gift from God.
God keeps such people so busy enjoying life that they take no time to brood over the past.
[biblegateway passage=”Ecclesiastes 5:19-20″]

It doesn’t mean you won’t suffer. Because you will. And you’ll feel miserable at times, and heartbroken at times. And you’ll grieve, and you’ll cry for days on end sometimes.

And yes, you need to guard against idolatry. You cannot worship the creation more than the Creator. You cannot put people, or things, or intangible ideals ahead of knowing the one true God.

But you can enjoy life to its fullest, and find pleasure in the good things God has given you. Because they are precious gifts from God. Because He has hand-picked special blessings to fill your life.

Because when you find joy in Him, you have no room to find sorrow in anything else. {tweet that!}

 

Let’s Chat! What are some special gifts that God has given you? Do you ever feel guilty for enjoying them too much? How can you safeguard against idolatry, while still enjoying all that God has blessed you with?

 

Want to remain joyful no matter what?
Know God’s Word! Read it with me this week:

Tuesday: Amos 4-6, Ecclesiastes 7
Wednesday: Amos 7-9, Ecclesiastes 8
Thursday: 1 Chronicles 1-4, Ecclesiastes 9
Friday: 1 Chronicles 5-8, Ecclesiastes 10
Saturday: 1 Chronicles 9-11, Ecclesiastes 11
Sunday: 1 Chronicles 12-14, Ecclesiastes 12
Monday: reflection or catch-up


Comments

  1. the white wave says:

    God gave us a short vacation, and in His providence and sovereignty, it came right after I had gotten some really hard news that I needed to pray about somewhere where I could be undistracted and alone with God. Knowing that that good gift and time of refreshing was from Him made me give thanks to Him and enjoy it without guilt.