Thursday, December 2, 2010

Good Gifts

Have you ever gotten a gift that you were really excited about until someone else’s unkind remarks about the item dampened your enthusiasm?

For example, one year my son reeeally wanted a skateboard for Christmas and his Granny and Papa were more than happy to grant his 4-wheeled wish. He was so thrilled on Christmas eve when he opened their gift. His excitement lasted a few days until he showed the board to a few of his more skate-board savvy friends, who were less than impressed with it. They said his board wasn’t one of the name brands and it’s wheels and trucks were second rate. Andrew’s bubble was burst and the gift he once thought was awesome was now less than average.

Satan tries to steal my joy in the same way sometimes. Recently, I had a number of really wonderful blessings all happening within days of each other. At first, I was overjoyed by the wonderful gifts my Father was showering down on me. But then, I started to worry…what if something really bad was getting to happen and God was trying to buffer it with all of the good stuff. Pretty soon, my joy about the good things was being overshadowed by my anxiety over the bad things I had imagined might be lurking in my future.

How foolish! I was letting Satan steal my joy and diminish my appreciation for God’s gifts. But the Bible clearly tells us 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.” (James 1:17). In Nehemia, we’re told not to fear, but to let the joy of the Lord be our strength (Neh 8:10). And, in Philippians, our instruction is to rejoice in the Lord always, be anxious about nothing, pray about everything and in turn we’ll experience peace.

So, it’s pretty clear that the blessings we are given from God should be embraced with unreserved joy and thankfulness, not with fear. Cling to His truths and Satan will not be able to steal your joy!

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