Good Things Keeping Us From the Best

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It's not always the bad things in life that keep us from God's best; surprisingly, it's often the good things.

In Paul’s letter to the Romans, he listed the blessings that Israel had received: "Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ" (Romans 9:4-5). Yet, it all counted for nothing in terms of salvation because they pursued righteousness by works and not by faith.

The Message puts Romans 9:31-32 like this: "How could they miss it? Because instead of trusting God, they took over. They were absorbed in what they themselves were doing. They were so absorbed in their 'God projects' that they didn't notice God right in front of them."

How easy it is to become absorbed in what we are doing and forget about God, even when the task is a good thing. Maybe it is a role in church leadership, or a church program, or a social justice project. Yet, these good things can keep us from God’s best if we become so engrossed in the task that we forget God. God is indeed with us—loving us, encouraging us, reassuring us—and yet sometimes God’s involvement in our lives is confronting.

We can become so involved in our Christian projects that we ignore our relationship with God. God's first priority is for us is to have a close, personal relationship with Him. Sometimes we prefer to work for God rather than to live for Him. We prefer to be busy doing something for Him, rather than to simply sit in His presence. We prefer to be present at a Christian activity, rather than be present with God.

Anything that keeps us from focusing on God and from trusting Him ultimately takes us away from Him. It is not always the bad things in life that keep us from God's best; surprisingly, it is the good things.

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