I may be wrong with today’s title. I am certain there are people out there who haven’t accepted God’s Grace and are enjoying fulfilling, useful and happy lives. Maybe there are people who have comfort and joy in their lives, but haven’t accepted God or His Messiah, then suddenly realize that it is not because of their own worthiness or power that they are so well off but because God is giving them blessings out of nothing more than His love for His children.
Maybe there are people who can appreciate Him and say to themselves, “Hey, know what? This is too good to be true, and I don’t deserve any of it because I am a sinner. So, while I am enjoying my life, let me stop and thank God for it, and take this time to accept His Grace, the salvation He made possible through Messiah Yeshua, and ask for forgiveness for the sins He is not punishing me for. ”
Maybe this is happening, maybe there are people who come to the Lord this way, maybe… but I really, REALLY doubt it.
Humans are self-centered, self-absorbed, self-important and hedonistic. And those are our good qualities!
I do not ever recall, in the 18 years I have been saved and even before, talking to anyone or hearing of anyone who came to the Lord in the midst of their joy. It is almost a foregone conclusion that when we are happy all we care about is staying happy. We don’t want to know or think of anything else.
In D’Varim (Deuteronomy) 8:10-20 Moshe warns the children of Israel against falling prey to their nature, in that once they have been secure and happy in the land they will forget it was God who did all that for them and that it was God who made it all possible, driving out the nations before them, and that it was because of God’s love for them that they have that security and abundance. He tells them to remember the Lord in the midst of their joy and not to think that they earned any of the peace they will have. In other places in the Torah he tells them to never think they are worthy of the land God is giving to them: in fact, Moses reminds them throughout the Torah about their stubbornness, their stiff-necked attitude and continual refusal to follow God’s laws wholeheartedly.
I think you have to agree with me- we don’t appreciate what we have until we lose it. We want, we pray, we get, and when we are happy we think it was by our power we now have it and we ignore God. When it all goes away, we cry and kvetch and, finally, when we are beaten into a sobbing hulk of self-pity, those who are still smart enough to remember where it all came from look up to God, repent and ask forgiveness.
And He forgives. Over and over, He forgives. Not because we deserve it, because we don’t. I mean, maybe the first, or second, or even third time we screw it all up I can see His forgiveness being given. But after 40 years in the desert and still not paying attention? After thousands of years of distorting His word, making our own rules from His simple commandments? And what about the religions with rules that are against His commandments? How can He still be able, let alone willing- actually, wanting!- to forgive us time and time again?
The answer is as simple as the commandments He gave us- He can, He does and He wants to because He is God.
If you are reading this and don’t consider yourself saved, thinking that your life is your own, please take this test:
- Can you add even 1 hour to the day?;
- Can you change one hair on your head from black to gray (without medical intervention)?;
- Do you know when you will die?;
- Do you know when Yeshua will return?
If you cannot answer any of those questions with an absolute “Yes”, I suggest you reconsider your position about God. And soon, because the prophecies about judgement are all pointing to the unavoidable conclusion that it will be here soon….very, very soon.
If your life is joyful and serene, please thank God for it. It’s because of Him. And if your life sucks, you are unhappy, depressed, needy and feel rejected, then look to God for help. He is there to bring you out of the pit and into the light.
And know this- those of you who are joyful and at peace today may be in tribulation tomorrow, so enjoy it and thank God for it.
Never lose sight of the fact that whatever you have that feels like a gift from above is just that- a gift from above. Yacov (James) reminds us in James 1:17 that “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
God doesn’t change, and we can. I think that is one of the greatest gifts that God provided for us, the fact that we have not just the opportunity to change, but the ability. They say the leopard cannot change it’s spots nor the tiger it’s stripes, but we can change; no matter how old we are, no matter how bad we’ve been (or good, for that matter- it can go both ways) and no matter how long we’ve been that way.
God will accept you whenever you ask His forgiveness and request His grace, so don’t wait for the bad times to do so and never forget to thank Him during the good times.
He is worthy and deserving of thanks, all the time.