Life has been going pretty well for me lately.
I’m at a great school with great people, doing what I love to do. Certainly there are some stressful moments here and there, but so far things are going my way.
…and that’s what I’m worried about.
Maybe some of you can relate. Often times I gear my blog posts towards those who are going through tough times or who may be experiencing challenging struggles in their life. However, I’ve come to realize that for many of us, we’re actually doing really well. Of course we all have our own personal difficulties. Things are never perfect. Nevertheless, our life is for the most part going in the direction that we want it to. Life is great. God is good.
But what if God is testing us during the good times, just as much as He is during the bad?
This past week I listened to a song by Kutless called I’m Still Yours. Although I had heard the song many times before, it just hit me extra hard this time. The lyrics go like this:
“When my life is not what I expected
The plans I made have failed
When there’s nothing left to steal me away
Will You be enough for me?
Will my broken heart still sing?
If I lost it all
Would my hands stay lifted
To the God who gives
And takes away
If You take it all
This life You’ve given
Still my heart
Will sing to You”
After hearing the song, I couldn’t help but ask myself…is this true for me? Can I really sing this song from the depths of my heart? Would I still feel the same about God if He took everything away?
When things are going well, it’s easy for us to take God for granted. We have so many other comforts and joys that we tend to forget that God is the source of it all – that in reality, He is all we need. It’s a slow process, but over time, we forget the love that we had for Him when we first believed. Without Him, we are nothing. In Revelation 3:17, Jesus says this to the Church in Laodicea:
“You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.” – Rev. 3:17
Secondly, I’m reminded of how Peter denied Jesus even after so clearly affirming his love for Him the night before. See, Satan doesn’t settle for the weak in faith – he goes after the strong. The leaders. The ones who are most “blessed.” Why? Because they least suspect it. Because they think that they’ve already won. Sin is like a Trojan horse, ready to invade an overconfident heart in the middle of the night.
So what can we do to prevent overconfidence and lukewarm love from taking hold? I believe that there are three simple answers:
1.) Giving – When God gives… you give. The best way to fight your dependency on money and material items is to make a regular practice of giving them up. It’s much harder to become attached to something that you are constantly ridding yourself of. Giving is a visible statement about what is most important to you. Show the world that while money can be helpful, God is all that you need.
2.) Serving – Although you may not be going through a difficult time, chances are, someone else is. Maybe God has made your burden light so that you can help carry theirs. Sometimes the best way to stay in touch with the reality of the Gospel is to get our hands a little dirty. After all, Christ came down to our lowly world from His place in glory to die for us. We should do the same for others. The easiest way to stay in love with God is to help others fall in love with Him.
3.) Growing – Never stop drawing close to God. Jesus tells us that we should strive for perfection. If you’re going through a time of blessing, maybe God’s giving you an opportunity to refine certain aspects of your life. Maybe it’s a chance to take a step back and examine where you are and where you want to go in your relationship with Christ. It’s time to sever the ties that may lead back to old sinful habits. Build up your defense and your fortress on God’s perfect foundation and prepare yourself for future trials.
When things seem to be going your way, it is a gift from God. We should be thankful for it and enjoy it. Just remember, tests often come packaged as blessings. Don’t forget that the good things you experience are both purposeful and undeserved. Continue giving, continue serving, and continue growing – all saturated with an attitude of humility. Keep looking to God and allowing the Holy Spirit to work in your life, transforming you into the image of Christ. And even when the hard times hit, even when things go wrong, you can still put a joyful smile on your face – because it doesn’t matter whether things are going your way or not… they’re going His way. And it doesn’t get better than that.
“If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall.” – 1 Corinthians 10:12
The easiest way to stay in love with God is to help others fall in love with Him.