The Danger of the Good Times

Finding $1 on the sidewalk … stepping on the scales and seeing the number go down … having money after paying all the bills … feeling comfortable, loved, and secure … having the OSU Cowboys win their football game … planting flowers and actually having them flourish in the Oklahoma heat and humidity … having all the appliances, vehicles, plumbing, wiring in the house working and cooperating … being healthy … having all of my relationships doing well … being appreciated at work … having things go my way. Those are all aspects of how I like my life to be. Well-ordered, well-run, comfortable, peaceful, in control. That's how it ought to be, right?

Sometimes, life does go like that. I've learned recently the extreme danger in these instances.

When life is broken and painful, when it just plain sucks, it's not difficult to be on my face before the Lord. I'm hungry for His Word. I'm aware of my brokenness and my desperation. I'm aware of my inability, my sin, my great need for Him. And when I do, there's not a problem with following Him.

But, when life is comfortable and peaceful, when everything is roses and champagne, that's when the deep, sinful, inner Diana will show up. Things are this way because of … well, because I'm just so darn wonderful! I'm spiritual and God surely blesses me for that. I'm wise because I can open the pages of His Word and I can hear Him. I'm patient. I'm loving. I have learned so much and have really grown. I've been in a raging storm and weathered it. I'm a battle-scarred veteran that has been victorious. I, I, I. Me, me, me. Yes, it's all me.

I'm still reading in the book of Judges and the story of Gideon. (Have you read it yet?! Like I said in my last post, read it!!! You'll be glad you did.) Gideon just came through an incredible, miraculous battle with 300 men, torches, and jars against an army that was many more times their size. And Israel stood back and watched God defeat their enemies … until God said to take after the rest of them. So, these energized men began pursing them to finish off the battle. Gideon witnessed all of that. He was a part of it.

After the battle, the Israelites came to Gideon and asked him to be king. He very spiritually answered that he would not do that, that God would be their king, but then he proceeded to tell them to give him all of the gold earrings that they had taken as plunder. Gold earrings that came out to about 50 pounds of gold. The booty wound up including purple robes of kings, jewelry, and more. Do you see what's going on here? Gideon's exterior is humble. "Oh, please, I can't take the credit." But inside of Gideon was a proud and arrogant heart. "I deserve the reward. I was the leader here. Do you see what I did?" The end result was Gideon acted like a king, complete with riches and a harem, and the idol he made was a snare to him and to all of Israel.

He started well, and finished horribly.

I don't mean to hammer Gideon, and I know that's what it sounds like I'm doing. Gideon followed the Lord and was obedient. He worked with God in doing some incredible things for His people. Gideon even makes the Hall of Fame of Faith in Hebrews 11. That's big time! But, there came a point when that stopped, when God wasn't on the throne in his life, but instead that he himself was. God had become his co-pilot, rather than the pilot. Jesus didn't have the wheel. Gideon did. A life of deep pain resulted in walking with God. A life of prosperity and recognition resulted in being god of his own life.

What I'm trying to say is that I have the same heart that Gideon does … and I'm willing to bet that some of you who are reading this, if you really let God point out the intents and motives of your heart, will see the same thing. It's part of our fleshly, sinful nature to want to take the credit that belongs only to God. At least, it's a part of my nature.

How thankful I am for the warning and example of Gideon. He was used mightily by God … but he also fell an incredible distance away from Him. The biggest danger of my life isn't pain. It's prosperity. In the bad times, I have to remember Who God is, what He has done, who I am in Him. But, in the good times, it's even MORE important for me to remember these same things.

It all boils down to the one simple fact -- there is never a time that I don't need Him desperately. Good times. Bad times. In between times. All the time.

Any thing that I've been blessed with? It's because of Jesus. Anything wonderful in my life? It's because of Jesus. Anything of good that you see in me? It's because of Jesus. Anything of excellence or reward in my life? It's because of Jesus.

Laying it all at His feet today.


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