You would think that loving God in the good times would be easy.
After all, thousands of books and articles are written to strengthen Christians who are going through trials. Why? Because it is hard to find light when everything seems dark. It is difficult not to despair when hope seems like a daydream.
Because of this, you would think that when Christians receive blessings, they would automatically respond with thankfulness. You would think that they would trust God more, be humbled, and be more willing to serve.
I wish that were true.
However, I have seen that in “good times” I am even more prone to selfishness and pride than in hard times!
Last year was the most difficult one of my life—it was riddled with relationship struggles, financial problems, unemployment, health problems, and trying to find God after I walked away from Him.
This year has been the exact opposite so far. I graduated from community college, had a peaceful summer, experienced success, and received financial blessings and opportunities. Life right now seems like it has reached a high that I never thought was possible.
However, instead of responding with “Thank you, God” I have used my success to boost my own self-image. I have lacked compassion toward others and have grown complacent and comfortable. I have been arrogant and have internally bragged about my gifts as if I were the one that generated them.
Because of this, verses like these smack me like a slap across the face:
“Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12).
“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18).
I don’t want to lose God in earthly blessings. I don’t want to gain the world and lose my soul.
However, when the lure of success and glory and health and wealth are so near, faith fades out of the picture. By myself, I can’t keep my focus straight.
How then am I supposed to fight pride in seasons of blessing?
Here are a couple things I have learned.
1. Pray — all the time.
Every time you feel arrogance or boasting fill your heart, pray for God to help you see clearly. Ask Him to help you see clearly and not to lose yourself even in His blessings. Pray for Him to correct you when you go astray — even if this leads to another trial.
2. Challenge yourself.
When we are smooth-sailing, it is easy to get comfortable. We can convince ourselves to sit in bed watching Netflix and eating popcorn all day because we are comfortable and the world outside is convicting.
Because of this, it is extra important to challenge yourself to get outside of that comfort zone. Start a new project, work on evangelism, and love someone who doesn’t deserve it. By doing something hard, you will be reminded of where your strength lies, and you won’t waste the good times in self-interest.
3. Keep the Bible handy.
More importantly than just reading it, memorize verses that you can bring to mind when you’re feeling proud. Instead of boosting yourself with wordly phrases about self-esteem and confidence, remind yourself of grace. Think about the Gospel and the God who saved you. A right understanding of the cross usually diffuses pride very quickly.
4. Be around challenging people.
When things are going well, we are tempted to be around people who feed our egos. However, this is the ticket to trapping yourself in the prison of self-congratulation.
Even though it’s difficult to be around those who point out our faults, sometimes those are the people who actually help the most. Instead of just being concerned with our immediate happiness, they are concerned with our eternity. These are the kind of people to count on as prayer warriors, true friends, and accountability partners.
5. Remember the goal.
What is the goal of your life? What even is the goal of the blessings that you have received? When we are able to ask “why?” instead of just thinking about the benefits of good times, we see that we were not blessed to gloat. We were blessed for a reason. I have the education and opportunities I have for a reason. And the reason for that blessing is not just for me.
I believe that God gives us good times for the same reason as He gives us hard times — both show us who we are and who He is. The comfort of each season is that we are loved when we sin, and we have help when we struggle.
Consequently, my prayer in this season is found in the hymn “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.”
“Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it; seal it for Thy courts above.”
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