“But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.”
Psalm 73:28 ESV
I have coined a new term… “Israelite attitude.”
Let me explain what I mean by this… The Israelites, in Exodus, were held in captivity by Pharaoh in Egypt, but God eventually delivered them out of their slavery after several plagues occurred within the country of Egypt. During their escape they encountered, what to them was an undeniable end to their freedom, the Red Sea. It seemed as though all hell had broken loose as they began to whine and complain, “We made a mistake! We should have never left Egypt! It would have been better for us to stay there instead of dying out here in the wilderness!” After all God had done for them, delivering them from their own captivity in Egypt, the Israelites had the audacity to complain about the position they were in. They lacked faith and trust in God. (Exodus 1-14)
I have seen an “Israelite attitude” manifested in my own life over the past couple of years. I have not allowed myself to recall the countless times where my God has delivered me in the past. Instead, I act as if He has never done anything for me, and doubt His power, sovereignty, and character. But what good does that do for any of us, if we are consistently living with this mindset? If we are perceiving God to be some genie in a bottle, who is only good to us when we get exactly what we want, then our theology is utterly wack. This attitude leaves us dry, unsatisfied, and resentful of everything that we are unable to call our own.
As I stood toe-to-toe with sin that had festered itself into an ugly fixed habit, I began to see the stupidity and folly in the life I had been living. Like a dog returning to its vomit, was I returning to the gripping chains of fear. But even in my disgusting ways, God grabbed me by the nape of the neck and pulled me out. As I began to relinquish my desire to crawl back to a stronghold, that had for so long, pinned me down, I watched God, in all His might, smash the stronghold into smithereens. It is not until now that I have realized how amazing and great our God truly is!
No matter what, our God is still near and He will always be a great Father to His children. He is the same God who delivered the Israelites from enslavement to Pharaoh, the same God who gave Ruth and Naomi a kinsman redeemer, the same God that delivered David from the hands of Saul, and the same God who saved our very own souls from the fiery pit of hell. The Lord our God is constant. He is the same God today as He was yesterday, and as He will be tomorrow. He is mighty, He is powerful, and His name reigns above ALL other names. Our God is good. So good, in fact, that James 1:17 tells us that “every good gift and every perfect gift” comes from Him. (ESV)
Here’s the deal though. “Perfect” is translated from the Greek word “teleios,” meaning “which has achieved or reached its goal, objective, purpose.” So these perfect gifts that we receive are not always packaged in the ways we typically perceive gifts to be packaged in, like a job promotion, a D1 soccer commitment, a brand new car, or a hunky boo thing to call your own. These perfect gifts are given with the same purpose that Romans 8:28 talks about.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Romans 8:28 ESV
So what is God’s purpose for our lives and for these perfecting gifts? Thankfully, it is NOT to grant us everything we ever want, but instead to continually mold us into the character of Christ. And so, it is out of God’s astounding grace that imperfect people like ourselves can receive these perfect gifts from an unchanging Father because they are perfecting us.
By realizing our ultimate purpose, we are granted the ability to perceive our circumstances as means of sanctification and not punishment. God is merely making room in our lives so that He can bless us with things that ultimately satisfy. Such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control. He is making room in our lives so that we may know Him more and better, and that with Him, we may experience life more abundantly.
And NOTHING, I repeat NOTHING, you do for the sake of Christ will ever be done in vain. Don’t ever fall victim to the lie that makes you believe that living for Christ is a drab, unfulfilling way of life. It is only another sad, pathetic, tactic by satan to destroy you. The wicked may seem to prosper, but the finale of their life will be achieved in hell. So, friend, I pray you do not compare yourself to those whose ends are death, to those who set their mouths against the heavens, but instead, that you would continue to fight for your holiness and strive for the “crown of life” that is eternity with God in heaven.
Y’all, it is good to be near God. Allow Him to be your soul’s true source of complete satisfaction and delight. Desire nothing on earth more than you desire Him. Know that your flesh and your heart will fail, but God is the strength of your heart and your portion forever. Make Him your refuge today so that you may tell of His great works.
“We give thanks to You, O God; we give thanks, for Your name is near. I recount Your wondrous deeds.” (Psalm 75:1)
“Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.” (James 1:21)