Monday, February 16, 2009

Good, Better, Best…

For the LORD God is a sun and shield;
The LORD will give grace and glory;
No good thing will He withhold
From those who walk uprightly.
(Psalm 84:11)

In Elizabeth George’s book Following God with All Your Heart, she goes through 6 Scriptures that have been helpful to her throughout her Christian walk. One of those Scriptures is Psalm 84:11. She goes through each part of this verse and discusses it in detail, but the part that caught my attention the most was her discussion of the goodness of God as revealed in this verse and how we can tell if something we want is truly good for us. She says,

This is a marvelous fact about God and His nature. Goodness is one of His attributes. And it’s also a promise. What have you got? What do you possess? Whatever it is (or isn’t!), God has given you the beneficial things that are blessings from above, things you need for your service and pilgrimage through life. This includes the necessities of life and may even include some material goods.

But here’s a catch: There are many good things in this world, but you and I need to keep asking, “Are these the best things for me?” Here’s a simple test from Scripture that will help you decide if something you want or something you want to do is “good,” as defined by God’s Word, which, of course, means it’s something God wants for you.

  • Test #1 – Is it worthy of a child of God? “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful…” (1 Corinthians 6:12)
  • Test #2 – Will it enslave? “All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any” (1 Corinthians 6:12)
  • Test #3 – Will it hinder the spiritual growth of others? “Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.” (1 Corinthians 8:13)
  • Test #4 – Will it produce spiritual growth? “All things are lawful for me, but not all things edify” (1 Corinthians 10:23)

To sum up: If you don’t have something, you shouldn’t be discontent without it because it’s not what you need right now (or God would have given it to you already). Go ahead and pray, but remember God doesn’t withhold anything that is good when it is what’s needed right now. So be careful when you think you’re lacking something and when you set your goals. It’s an affront to God and a slur on His character to believe you need something and He isn’t supplying it. God’s goodness is so utterly and amazingly wonderful!

I thought these simple test questions were helpful to evaluate if I really NEED something or if I really need to DO something. I hope it proves helpful to you the next time you have to make a decision about doing something or the next time you find yourself wanting something you don't have.

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