February 4, 2021
Sometimes it’s great to be wrong.
When I was younger, I thought that God was only pleased with “spiritual” things like praying, reading the Bible, and going to church. I thought that all we would do in heaven is sit around and sing worship songs. As I have gotten older and become more familiar with Jesus and His Word, it has been a great relief to discover that I was wrong.
Some people believe that the best things in life are the forbidden things. They think sin is where the real fun is, and that God is the cosmic killjoy whose main job is to say “No” to the things that make life enjoyable. But if they would get to know Jesus and His Word, they would discover that they are wrong.
It is the enemy of our souls who tells us these lies: that God is boring, that sin is sweet, that we have to take matters into our own hands to make life interesting. Here is the truth: God invented life, and every good and sweet thing is from Him. The Bible says so:
“Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. 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 1:16,17
Every good and perfect gift is from God. That includes, I assume, not only things like the Bible and prayer and sweet times of worship on Sunday mornings, but also things like sunsets and snowfall and chocolate brownies. It includes laughter among friends, healthy bodies, jobs that fulfill us and make use of our gifts. County fairs and the leaves in the fall. A good night’s sleep. Whenever life is sweet, God is behind it, blessing us with goodness, because that’s how He intended life to be from the beginning.
The Bible says that legalists and prudes who strip the joy from life in the name of spirituality don’t know God’s heart nearly as well as they pretend to:
“They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be receivedwith thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.”—1 Timothy 4:3-5
Marriage was created by God, and He intended it to be received with thanksgiving. Thank you, God, for my wife. I realize I am often blind to all the ways my life is sweeter because of her. Food was created by God, and He intended it to be received with thanksgiving. Thank you, God, for this cheeseburger. You are so kind even in the little things.
If this is true, then it opens up all of life—except for sin—to be a spiritual experience. Some of us know that the Bible says we should “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17), and we think “how is that possible? I have a life to live! I have a job and a family and responsibilities!” But usually this means we are only thinking of prayer as the kind of thing that happens on our knees on Sunday mornings. If we know that every good thing in life is from God, and that He wants us to receive it with thanksgiving, instead of “what a pretty sunset!” we can say “thank you God for the beautiful sunset!” On the way to work, we can praise God for a job to meet our needs. We can worship God while sledding with our kids, while relaxing in the company of friends, and, of course, while enjoying a good cheeseburger.
If you know me, then you know that I am big fan of prayer and Bible study and worship services. They are some of my favorite things. But if God is only interested in prayer and Bible study and worship services, then much of life is a waste of time. If He only cares about Sunday, why did He invent all the other days? Why did he invent snow and childhood and music? The good news is that God invented all of life, and all of life matters. And we can live it intentionally, with hearts full of gratitude and our eyes on Him, all week long, in everything we do. Thank you, God, for life. Help me live every aspect of it for Your glory.
“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”—1 Corinthians 10:31