Monday, April 30, 2012

Beware of Blessings

James 1:17 says, "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change."  One implication of this (that every gift is from our heavenly Father) is that we ought to give Him thanks for the countless blessings we experience in a given day.

This implication is made explicit in 1 Timothy 4:4-5, "For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer."

Yes, receive the blessings of God (spouse, children, clean water, blooming flowers, chocolate brownies...) with grateful hearts. 

But beware of blessings too.  Specifically, beware of measuring God's goodness and love by those earthly gifts He sends down from above.  The way of thinking goes something like this: You've got a strong marriage? Isn't God good!  You've gotten a promotion at work? Isn't God good!  You're pregnant?  Isn't God good!

And that's all true; it's right.  Indeed, they are expressions of God's goodness.  But in the midst of celebrating these blessings, we must train our eyes to see God's goodness beyond the temporal blessings that He showers on us so liberally, and here's why:

When you say to yourself over and over, "Train your eye on these earthly blessings, and gauge God's goodness by what you see," you'll be  ignoring the fact that life will not always be the accumulation of good things.  And then, when hardship comes, you will look out and have no evidence of God's goodness.  

So praise God today for your blessings.  But beware that you don't use them as the sole barometer of God's goodness.  Training your eye on earthly blessings alone will never produce in a man this sort of heart:

    Though the fig tree should not blossom,
        nor fruit be on the vines,
    the produce of the olive fail
        and the fields yield no food,
    the flock be cut off from the fold
        and there be no herd in the stalls,
    yet I will rejoice in the LORD;
        I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
(Habakkuk 3:17-18 ESV)

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