Thanks to a pastor who speaks truth, I have really been dealing with the fact lately that I (being human and all) can, at times, do things in my daily life because it’s a needs-to-be-done-so-I-can-stay-in-the-good-graces-of-God thing to do…not simply because He is worthy of my all and because I want to do it. I’ve really been looking at what I’m doing and why I’m doing it, and at times it has been very sobering. I realize that while my intentions seem legitimate, they’re not always from a pure heart but are out of obligation or because “His promises are true and He will bless me in return.”
Just last night, we were discussing this very thing in our small group Bible study. When our motivation to be righteous is because we are expecting a blessing, what happens when the blessing doesn’t come or even worse, when everything starts to crumble down around us? I think it’s during this kind of struggle and/or pain that we do one of two things – we curse God and walk away from Him or we do as Job did and hold fast to our integrity. The only way we can do the latter is to truly know God and understand His character and His sovereignty.
The main way we can know Him and His character is to read His Word. Job is such a great example of how we are to praise Him and give Him thanks in the good and the bad. Even after Job had lost everything…all his livestock and then his children…he still worshiped. He said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” Even when he lost his health, and his wife suggested he curse God and die, he stayed true to what he knew of God’s character and asked her, “Shall we receive good from God, and not receive evil?”
After 35 chapters of Job getting mad about his circumstances and his friends giving what seemed to be good advice, the Lord finally explains to him with poetic eloquence who He really is. This allowed Job to step back and see God’s true nature and magnitude. If you’ve never read Job 38-39, or if you’re like me and it’s been a while, I suggest you step back away from your issues, your current problems, your busyness, and hear it bellow from the pages. It will definitely put things into perspective.
One thing I have found that keeps my mind on the goodness of God and off my seemingly never-ending plethora of issues in my life, is to praise God and thank Him often…and not just for the obvious…for the little things, for what seems to be “ugly” and seeing it as beautiful.
So, today is a new day and the first day of my list of endless gifts (looking forward to reaching 1,000) from the One who loves me. I will thank him every day and share my list here on Thursdays.
1. abundant grace
2. mercy overflowing
3. freely-given, agape love (something I can’t earn no matter how good I am or how hard I work)
4. a works-his-fingers-to-the-bone, faithful husband
5. a truly anything-but-typical teenager – definitely not like most
6. a loving, witty, energetic ballerina who thinks she’s a teenager
7. a sweet little comedian of a 3-year-old who is keeping me young
8. a snuggly thumb-sucker who can be a mama’s boy as long as he wants…well, maybe not (Lindsay just had me picturing him at 40 with his fuzzy blanket, sucking his thumb)
9. parents who are always right next door and willing to come at a moment’s notice
10. a mother-in-law who comes nowhere close to fitting the MIL standard…what a blessing it is to have her in my life
11. a best friend who is more like the sister I never had — miss her terribly
12. a mess on the floor because children play here
13. Shrek…so I’ll have time to clean it up