Are you struggling today to be happy and content? What more do you think you need to accomplish this? “Just a little more good,” says the unhappy one; “just a little more gratitude,” says the happy one. The only thing better than being blessed and loved by God is to enjoy these blessings through thankfulness.
Blessings Surround Us Daily
All around us each day, God offers relationship with us through demonstration of His goodness: the warmth and nourishment of the sun, the satisfaction, and sustenance of a good meal, the restoration of a night’s sleep, the offer of help from others in meeting a need. God blesses us with a boss that developed a company where we can earn money. God blesses us with people who raise animals and farm produce, people who then transport it to local stores, followed by people who then stock store shelves so you can purchase and take it home to eat. Then God directly blesses us through the miracle of digestion and sustains our life. We do not realize just how much God’s expressions of goodness surround us each day. All these are from a good God, who through them calls us into relationship with Him.
“Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.” (Psalm 68:19)
He himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else…. He marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. (Acts 17:25-27)
“…He giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:” (Acts 17:25–27)
“O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.” (Psalm 34:8)
“It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22–23)
Every morning is filled with evidence of God’s offer of relationship through the demonstration of His goodness. Consider this. You wake up on a Saturday morning and take a warm shower after sleeping on a soft bed in a climate-controlled home. You then sit down to a hot cup of coffee and toast that you prepared using electric appliances empowered by the discovery of electricity, all designed to make your life more pleasing and convenient by a good God. At your fingertips are anything and everything you could desire to read, watch, or listen to through a very new invention called the smartphone. All of this is given for your greater enjoyment in life. Indeed, our life is filled with good things from a good God who is saying, “I have been good to you, let’s have a relationship.”
“For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:” (1 Timothy 4:4)
Blessings Surround Us Eternally
So much good and yet we have only been considering the temporal. What about the greatest expression of God’s goodness and offer of relationship through Jesus Christ?
“Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.” (2 Corinthians 9:15)
Ephesians 1:3 says that God “…hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:” Though we are surrounded daily by countless physical blessings, as good as these are, they are but a small taste of the best. They are temporary, pointing us to the greater. Ephesians 1 lists some of these indescribable spiritual and eternal blessings and privileges that are ours through the work of Christ. I call them the “divine diamond ring,” for each one reflects another amazing facet of the riches that are ours in Christ. We are “chosen” in Christ; we are “adopted” in Christ; we are “redeemed” through the blood of Christ; He “forgave us all our sin;” He “made known to us the mystery of His will;” and He “sealed us with the Holy Spirit.”
“Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things…” (Psalm 103:2–5)
Who Could Ask for More?
With all these physical and spiritual expressions of God’s goodness surrounding us, inviting us to draw near for relationship, why do we ever grumble and complain about the disappointing situations and relationships? I ask this question not to minimize the severity of the trials you and I face, nor to pretend that we will somehow attain perfection in our ability to “rejoice in the Lord always.“ Rather, I ask these questions to emphasize our need to remain more aware of the good we have than the good we wish we had when going through discouraging seasons of life and relationships. Is it not true that if we took inventory, we would always find that, no matter how bad our present circumstances are, we always have more to be thankful for in Christ than to complain about?
“Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Philippians 4:4, 8)
Thankfulness is a spiritual trait that develops contentment by mentally focusing on all the good and the givers in your life.
However, complaining is a sinful trait that is instinctual to fallen mankind. It requires no effort, only a tough circumstance or relationship. We believe if our outer man had more good, our inner man would have more joy. We tend to think, “If only I could get a little more love, respect, time, money, communication from others, then I would be as happy as other blessed people.” We tend to think, “If God would only improve my health and finances, then I could really enjoy life like other blessed people.”
The truth is that we will only find the joy we seek as we turn “just a little more good” into “just a little more gratitude.”
Begin today to develop what you need most – thankfulness. Each time your heart complains today about something or someone, call to mind three temporal and eternal blessings you already have and give thanks to the givers – both God and others. May the Lord open our eyes as we give our effort.
Founder and Executive Director of the Lowcountry Biblical Counseling Center
Tim Bryant is the founder and Executive Director of the Lowcountry Biblical Counseling Center in Charleston, South Carolina since 2003. Before LCBCC, Tim served as a pastor for ten years in the Chicagoland area. LCBCC ministry is committed to providing resources, training and partnerships to help develop effective biblical counseling (i.e. intensive discipleship) for, in and through the local church. Currently LCBCC employs six staff counselors, assisted by several volunteer team counselors. Tim’s counseling and speaking ministry have been used to help many couples and families struggling with intense interpersonal conflict, as well as many individuals seeking to overcome personal problems such as depression, anxiety, anger, bitterness, addiction, and guilt. He holds his Master’s in Biblical Counseling from the Master’s University (California), and is certified by the Association of Biblical Counselors. Tim and his wife, Erin, have four children.
For More Resources, contact LCBCC at http://www.lcbcc.org.