Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and do not forget all His benefits - who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the Pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good as long as you live so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's. The LORD works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed. He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the people of Israel. The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. (Psalm 103:1-8)
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It is very easy to take things for granted.
The house we are living in. The job that we have. The family that we've been given. The education that we receive (or have recieved). The friends that we are surrounded by. The clothes in our closet. The food on our table. The money in our bank...and the list could go on and on.
And while you are currently dwelling on the "quality" or "quantity" of the things listed above, please realize that we all take them for granted.
In our world of comparison, heart-ache, and selfishness, it is hard to continually remember the benefits that we have.
And this same concept is true in our faith.
We compare our "have nots" with other people's "haves" and our "cannot do's" with the world's "can do's." We experience heart-ache, temptations, and failures that distract our view of reality. And we are faced daily with the lure of fitting in and making our names known.
Each of these trials aim at lessoning our awareness of the benefits in following Christ. This is why the Psalmist writes, "Bless the LORD, O my soul, and do not forget all His benefits..."
A benefit is something done, performed, bestowed, and given to a person. It is an extreme kindness that is offered to advance a person forward. And too easily, we forget the gifts that God has bestowed upon us; the acts that He has done to advance us forward.
So what are these benefits? And what happens when we remember them daily?
They are... Forgiveness, healing, redemption, holiness, inheritance, satisfaction, purpose, etc.
This list reminds me of the "sinful" woman in Luke 7.
The story states that Jesus was invited to dine with a group of high-class Pharisees. In the middle of this dinner party, a "sinful" woman (probably a known prostitute) barged into the house weeping loudly.
And as if this was not embarrassing enough, she then fell on her face and began washing Jesus' feet in front of everyone...with her tears and her hair. The epitome of an awkward dinner.
And at the sight of this, the Pharisees question Jesus. And His reply is shocking...
He begins comparing her acts of love with their acts of selfishness, claiming that "her many sins have been forgiven - for she loved much." (Luke 7:47)
In this story, this woman realized the benefits that came with following Jesus.
Before her encounter with Him, she was labeled by her sin, diseased with the eternal death that came with that sin, bound by accusations, and left lonely, helpless, and unsatisfied.
But now "in Him," she was forgiven, new, redeemed, holy, blessed, and completely satisfied. And this realization caused her to do the insane: barge into a popular house, full of popular people, and do something completely un-popular: radically love Christ.
This is why Jesus responds to the Pharisees with this statement: "But whoever has been forgiven little loves little." (v. 47) ...Or should I say: "Whoever has been benefitted with little loves little."
You see, when we are aware of our huge benefits, we respond with huge love.
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So all of this begs a question: Are you so aware of His benefits to you that you would barge into a popular place, full of popular people, and do the un-popular?
Like this woman, we have all be bestowed incredible benefits. And with these benefits should come the reaction - the response - of active love towards God.
He has done all of these things for you... So what will your response towards Him be today?
Let's stop taking for granted everything that is Divine. We would love to know, what is a benefit that you have been taking for granted? Feel free to answer this question in the comments of today's Instagram post! (Find it at: instagram.com/declareglory)
Greg, Declare Glory