Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.
In Part 1, I asked the question, Are you taking life for granted? I think it’s really good not to take everything for granted. Because each day is a gift; otherwise, if you don’t see it that way, there can be a sense of discontentment and unhappy feelings.
Did you know the best solution is to cherish each day, to appreciate people, and to embrace God’s Word, the Bible?
What does the Bible say about taking life for granted? In James 4:14 (CEV) we read: “What do you know about tomorrow? How can you be so sure about your life? It is nothing more than mist that appears for only a little while before it disappears”. That tells me life is very transient and uncertain—we know that.
Solomon in the Proverbs writings said, “Don’t brag about tomorrow. Each day brings its surprises”. (Proverbs 27:1 – CEV)
Sometimes our ambitions can rob us. We can become so enmeshed with what tomorrow can bring that we don’t fully engage with what is in front of us today. But the Bible tells us that our current actions are important to God. The things that you pay attention to now will have a great impact upon your tomorrow, so don’t daydream about what could happen—be fully present with what you are doing today.
The Lessons About Life From the Bible
We read in the Gospel of Luke:
Then he [Jesus] told them this story: “The farm of a certain rich man produced a terrific crop. He talked to himself: ‘What can I do? My barn isn’t big enough for this harvest.’ Then he said, ‘Here’s what I’ll do: I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll gather in all my grain and goods, and I’ll say to myself, Self, you’ve done well! You’ve got it made and can now retire. Take it easy and have the time of your life!’ (Luke 12:16-19 – The Message)
But that wasn’t to be. Jesus said that night the man died. What was the point of all his possessions? They meant nothing because his earthly life was over.
So many times we think that life will just go on forever this side of Heaven. Not so. One day I will die, and so will you. We must remember about eternity and be prepared. Don’t take God’s love for granted. He loves you with an everlasting love.
Psalm 18 says:
GOD made my life complete when I placed all the pieces before him. When I got my act together, he gave me a fresh start. Now I’m alert to GOD’s ways; I don’t take God for granted. Every day I review the ways he works; I try not to miss a trick. I feel put back together, and I’m watching my step. GOD rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes. (Psalm 18:20-24 – The Message)
I love this quote by John Ortberg: “The story of the Bible isn’t primarily about the desire of people to be with God; it’s the desire of God to be with people.” God is not distant! He is not elusive! He is right here with us all the time—whether we realise it or not. Remember, Jesus loves you. He faced the mobs for you. He endured torture for you. He went to the cross for you. He went there so you could be free. Free from sin’s addiction, free from the treadmill of futility, free to live.
Put first things first in your life. Matthew 6:33 (CEV) says, “More than anything else, put God’s work first and do what he wants.”
The Apostle Paul says in Hebrews:
Make sure you don’t take things for granted and go slack in working for the common good; share what you have with others. God takes particular pleasure in acts of worship—a different kind of “sacrifice”—that take place in kitchen and workplace and on the streets. (Hebrews 13:16 – The Message)
No matter what it is or who it is, never underestimate the possibility of losing the things or the people that you care about the most. There is nothing that you will have forever. And nothing you have is immune from tragedy or unforeseen circumstances. Unfortunately, it often takes a painful loss for people to realise that it is possible to lose things of great value to them.
Avoiding Unnecessary Hurt
When you take things for granted, you set yourselves up to be hurt. Life is not as predictable as we expect it to be. Anything can be lost, and not everything that’s lost can be retained.
Not all problems can be fixed, and they can never be undone. Still, people ignore this simple truth based on the false belief that certain things in their lives cannot be taken away from them and cannot be lost. People also convince themselves that certain things can never happen to them because they think that they’re good enough people, or they’re smart enough to avoid those types of things. Good works don’t stop tragedies from happening and being intelligent doesn’t make the people around you any more predictable.
Taking something for granted is never a conscious decision. You don’t choose to be so emotionally lazy that you place a lower value on things that deserve a higher value. It is human nature to have certain expectations, and you expect the things you care about always to be there. The thought of loss usually doesn’t cross your mind until it’s happening. And at that point placing emotional value where it’s most deserved will not spare you the pain of the imminent loss.
How do you keep yourselves from taking things for granted? How do you avoid setting yourselves up to be hurt? For one thing, it’s good to remind yourselves that loss is always possible and sometimes inevitable. The good things in your lives may not last for very long. The best you can do is hold onto them for as long as you can and appreciate the time you had them.
You also need to develop the ability to recognise when a person or a situation makes our lives better in some way. Show appreciation for the people who make you feel better when you’re upset or who offer to help when you’re in trouble. Know how good those things are for you.
When you truly see the good in what’s around you, you will replace taking things for granted with appreciating what you have while you have it.