“But don’t take any of this for granted. It was only yesterday that you outsiders to God’s ways had no idea of any of this, didn’t know the first thing about the way God works, hadn’t the faintest idea of Christ. You knew nothing of that rich history of God’s covenants and promises in Israel, hadn’t a clue about what God was doing in the world at large. Now because of Christ–dying that death, shedding that blood—you who were once out of it altogether are in on everything. The Messiah has made things up between us so that we’re now together on this, both non-Jewish outsiders and Jewish insiders. He tore down the wall we used to keep each other at a distance”—Ephesians 2:11-14 (MSG).
How could a tiny cut on the end of my left thumb make me realize how much we take for granted? Other than being painful, it’s even more frustrating when you try to use the injured thumb for everyday activities. Have you ever tried to grasp and open a tightly sealed bag when one of your thumbs is swathed in a bandage?
I recall another “thumb” incident over 20 years ago when I jammed my right one, requiring a trip to the doctor to adjust it. With a splint on the thumb, it was impossible to turn my ignition key. However, I learned to adapt by using my left hand. Very awkward.
What else do we take for granted?
We seem to take a lot of things for granted. We take for granted our parents or spouses will always be there for us. Death or divorce can destroy that illusion.
We take for granted that because we’ve given our children a Christian upbringing, they’ll make the right choices when they grow up and leave home.
Sometimes, we do that with our faith, especially when we’ve been raised in the church. We’ve become so familiar with our faith, we often fail to appreciate God. We take Him and His creation for granted.
Taking our faith for granted
Attending church and sitting in the same pew each week can lead to faith inertia. We become lazy. If we don’t make an effort to grow in grace, our faith can run on auto-pilot.
Growing in grace means putting forth the effort, seeking God and reading His Holy Word outside of the church setting. It’s not about religion; it’s about a growing relationship with our Creator God through His Son, Jesus Christ. When we study scripture, we learn what God wants for us, His children. Seeking God through His Word enables us to grow and follow His leading. His will, not ours.
Taking God for Granted
“I don’t ever want to forget what God has done and is doing in my life,” I once told my pastor. “If I do, then I am taking Him for granted.”
God has done so much in my life since I surrendered to Him. I never want to forget. Nor, do I want to forget how His amazing grace transformed me from the inside, out.
When I become impatient in my waiting times, I often have to remind myself how much He wants the best for me. During those waiting times, I don’t want to forget to praise Him.
In Ephesians 2:11-14, Paul reminds the Gentiles of their heathen past. They were once without hope, without God. But because of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for all, they have been accepted equally with the chosen people, the Jews.
Let Paul’s reminder to the Ephesians be a reminder to us, too. Let’s not take our God, His sacrifice, His grace, His provision, His peace, His protection, and His promises for granted. Let us be thankful every day the sun rises.
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