When Life Is Good: Two Temptations to Fight

My life has been good. I was given a good childhood, good education, good marriage, good finances, good job, good heath, good family, good church, good friends, good house, good, good, good…

That doesn’t mean I haven’t walked through trials. I have. I’ve lost a job, lost friendships, lost loved ones, lost a baby through miscarriage. I’ve walked through hard seasons of marriage, hard seasons of parenting, and hard seasons of spiritual darkness. In a broken world filled with sinful people, nobody can make it through life unscathed by suffering.

But all in all, my life has been very good—unfairly good.

And I’m grateful! But there are certain ways that a good outward life can lead to an immature spiritual life.

We’re More Shaken By Suffering
Those of us who’ve mostly enjoyed good tend to be less resilient when life gets hard. Good is our expectation, so we’re easily shaken by suffering. We haven’t felt (at least as often) the rising waters and flaming fires that would fling us desperately into the arms of Christ. So when trials do arise, we’re more tempted to question whether He even cares.

Though we should be grateful for the good gifts we enjoy, we need to adjust our expectations so that we’re not spiritually devastated when faced with suffering. Jesus tells us to expect many hardships in this life!

Living in a fallen world, walking through life in broken bodies, fighting temptations of sinful flesh, and obeying God’s commands to love the church, love our enemies, do justice, extend mercy, and preach the Gospel will inevitably bring some measure of suffering.

We need to know this at our core, so that we’re not shocked when it comes. When life is good, we can’t get lazy—we must actively put on the whole armor of God so that we’re equipped for battle when it’s hard!

We’re Less Inclined to Share in Others’ Burdens
The other temptation we have when we’ve been blessed with the good life is the idolatry of keeping it the good life. Out of a selfish desire of self-preservation, we don’t want to enter in to the messy and the hard and the painful that others are walking through.

So we don’t give generously to those in financial hardship, because we don’t want to lose our financial security. We don’t stick “closer than a brother” when our friends are met with fire, because the heat doesn’t hit us if we love them from afar. We don’t press into relationships with difficult people, because we like to keep our relationships neat and tidy. We don’t patiently encourage the fainthearted or help the weak because, in our pride, we’re frustrated that they “just can’t get it together.” We don’t serve wholeheartedly, extend hospitality, or spread the Gospel boldly, because we crave comfort not a cross.

We’ve tasted good, so we want to keep life good, rather than use our good for others’ good.

But the relational, material, and spiritual gifts God has given to us are meant to be shared. They’re not for us to horde and protect, but to lay down before our Father’s feet and our brothers needs. If God has given us a light load to carry, it’s so we can help shoulder the heavy burdens of others.

If God’s blessed us with loving families, it’s so we can share love with those who don’t have them. If God’s blessed us with material prosperity, it’s so we can extend His provision to the poor. If God’s blessed us with spiritual maturity—grown from years of faith, sound teaching, and godly examples—it’s so we can walk graciously alongside those who stumble. If God’s blessed us with predominantly happy circumstances, it’s so we can care for those overcome by grief.

Do you have a good life? If so, praise God! Go and use it for His glory.

 

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