Yes, You Can Overcome the Good Times!

Posted on August 10, 2019

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By David Ettinger

book of Job

Job’s Friends Got Something Right!
I’ll never forget when I was 28 and 29 years old. It was during this traumatic time of my life that I came across an amazing passage from the Book of Job.

Now, caution is required regarding Job’s friends. They were, to put it mildly, shallow, intolerant grouches who could do nothing more than reprimand their suffering friend when he needed their love and compassion, but in Job 11:13-16, one of Job’s friends, Zophar, got something right.

He said: “Yet if you devote your heart to him and stretch out your hands to him, if you put away the sin that is in your hand and allow no evil to dwell in your tent, then, free of fault, you will lift up your face; you will stand firm and without fear. You will surely forget your trouble, recalling it only as waters gone by.”

This is one of the more beautiful passages in all of Scripture, and I seized it. I said to the Lord: Do you mean to tell me that all this pain I am feeling will one day fade away like “waters gone by” – like a flowing stream on a sunny day?

I “claimed” this verse and decided to “hold” God to His promise, and He delivered! Within two years, most of the pain of those years was alleviated, and over the next two-plus decades, I excelled!

But when I reached my 50s, I realized something was sorely missing. Where were my love and zeal for the Lord? Where was my desire for Him? What had become of my devotion to Him? What had these two decades of “good times” done to my walk with Jesus? I needed a rebirth, a reconnect with Him. The good times had robbed me spiritually.

How about you? Are you now “enduring” those spiritual-life-threatening good times? Are you experiencing God’s blessings? If so, don’t despair! I have learned to overcome these potentially spirit-sapping times of God’s bounty and find my way back to Him. I believe I can help you do the same.

man praying

Get Acquainted With Your Carpet
The first step in finding your way back to God is prayer. I’m talking about real prayer, the kind where you fall prostrate, your face to the carpet pouring yourself out to the Lord. This posture of prayer will remind you that, though things are going very well, you are, in essence, but dust (loved and cherished dust, but still dust).

Now that you’re down on the ground, for what should you pray? First, pray for God to increase your love for Him. Why? Every leaning of humanity is to glorify themselves and satisfy their own passions and desires (read Romans 7). But the more God fills you with His love, the more your love of self will be pushed out. So, pray for God’s love to thoroughly inhabit you.

Next, pray for God to allow you to glorify and exalt Him in all you do. Remember the prophet Isaiah’s response to God’s question, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” Isaiah replied, “Here I am. Send me!” (Isaiah 6:8). Ask God to “send” you.

Next, ask God to make you a vessel of purity and holiness. Ask God to show you every evil motive, lust, and intent of your heart and to purge you of them. Let this be your aspiration: “But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy’” (1 Peter 1:15-16).

pursuit

Fill Up With the Good Stuff
The next question is, What steps can I take to achieve these goals? One immediate way is to fortify yourself with the good stuff. By “good stuff,” I’m talking about spiritual-growth tools. Number one on this list is the Bible. There are many great books, but none beats the world’s all-time best-seller.

Find yourself a reading plan that puts you on course to read ALL of the Bible. This includes those Old Testament books you can’t pronounce such as Habakkuk, Zephaniah, and Haggai. Don’t forget 2 Timothy 3:16: “All Scripture is God-breathed …”

Daily Bible reading is a MUST. The foremost way God communicates with His children is through His Word, and it is impossible to reach your spiritual potential in the Lord without reading it.

Next, read great books by great authors, such luminaries as A.W. Tozer (The Pursuit of God), J.I. Packer (Knowing God) and Charles Spurgeon. Their view of God is so exalted, so glorious, so … noble … that you cannot help but be filled with awe and amazement of the mighty God you serve. Reading such authors will elevate your esteem for God.

Next, there are the respected modern-day pastor/teachers featured daily on your local Christian radio station. Such teachers include John MacArthur, Chuck Swindoll, David Jeremiah and a host of others. Get acquainted with these teachers and learn from them.

Media Discernment
I admit that during the 1990s and into the 2000s I became a Thursday night TV junkie. Were the shows I watched well-written? Yes. Funny? Yes. Good company for the drained brain late in the week? Yes. Spiritually enhancing? NO!

And this is the key. I won’t chastise you over your TV and movie choices, but I would ask you to think about this: What does God’s Word say about purity? About morality? About loving others? About revering Him? Do the shows you watch exemplify these characteristics? Do the movies you watch spark growth in your love, worship, and reverence for God?

The Apostle John said: “Do not love the world or the things that belong to the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15). Be careful of what you put into your spiritual system. Just as healthy food should far outweigh the junk you eat, so should healthy spiritual material – the Bible, Christian resources – far outweigh the amount of secular material you deposit into your mind.

Keep the Fire Burning!
If you do these things, you will begin to see God work in your life. You will find your love for God increasing, leading to a greater desire to serve Him and seek after holiness and purity.

You will also strive to put into your heart and mind those things which help increase your love for God while reducing those which “war against your soul” (1 Peter 2:11).

So, are you in the midst of really good times? Rejoice, but don’t let these rare days extinguish the fire of your spirit. Turn your entire being over to God and let Him keep your flame burning bright – in bad times and good!