When I hear the word “martyr”, many things come to my mind. I think of bravery, I think of passion, giving it your all for the Lord. Often I associate martyrs with the best Christians there have ever been. A little piece of me thinks that the more “martyr-like” I am, the more Spiritual I therefore am. I know this is a skewed persective of the gospel that the Lord is refining. Recently I have gotten married, moved to a new state, and started a new job. These are all wonderful things that I am thouroughly enjoying. There have been times that I catch myself wondering how come life seems so “easy” and “wonderful” now. It’s not the scene where we are struggling to pay the electric bill (well, we haven’t gotten our first one yet so maybe we are) and we are living off of Ramen noodles for lunch and dinner. In fact, so many great things are happening in our lives. And, there are times I catch myself just wondering when the floor is going to drop out from under us and some giant calamity is going to befall us. This only brings fear and a terrible perspective of my Father. You see, God has been doing a lot to mature my view of Him. I used to think that in order to be a really awesome Christian, I would have to give up everything good in my life and live destitute with the homeless. Ok maybe that is a little exaggerated but you get the point.
God has used many things in the past six months to modify this mindset through books, friends, sermons, and the Word. Thanksgiving–Eucharisteo in the Greek-has become a theme of my life. And, a sermon on Sunday I heard by Dr. Moore from Southern Seminary helped put my current blessings in perspective. The truths I heard were so simple and ones I have heard before but they were huge reminders as I am starting this new chapter in my life. He said that God blesses in order to keep blessing. He is a giving God. In fact, He LOVES to give good gifts to His children. His gifts come in many forms than the ones we are most used to. That is something I have really been learing- His gifts are all around. When we recognize this, we can then see that we serve such a good God. This then brings humility and thanksgiving that we turn back to Him which brings Him further glory. Isn’t that our ultimate purpose- we are to bring Him glory with our lives. Do you see it? When He blesses, we recognize it, praise Him, we are humbled, then He can further bless us. Dr. Moore said this is why Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit” because they are able to receive blessings and turn the glory back to God knowing that blessing did not come from anything they did.
Needless to say, this has helped change my “martyr” view on life. That perspective was actually pride in disguise thinking I could be a better Christian by something I did to give up for the Lord. And when the Lord calls me to give something up for Him, it will not be of my own ability or doing but will in fact be a gift from Him. At the same time, I recognize that life is not a bed of roses and there will be difficult times in my life to come. This however does not give me an excuse to despair or to reject the blessings my Father gives in the present. So during this time of my life, I am asking the Lord to keep pride from ruining my ability to accept His gifts and give thanks as well as keep away fear of furture calamity which removes my faith in my Savior.
I am learning to give thanks in all things to my Father who LOVES to give good gifts to His children.