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July 17, 1991

Finding the Good in Life

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I said to the LORD, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.” PSALM 16:2
Time to make a list. Take a pen and paper, and write down all the good things in your life. Include things from your spiritual life. Include things from your family life. Include things from your social life. Include things from your work life. Include things from any other life you might categorize for yourself.
Now, think about which items on your list you may treat as more important than God. Anything that fits that description is, in fact, a false god—an idol. It’s something you worship that you shouldn’t worship.
Whether or not a “thing” is good often depends on how you use it. God may grant you special opportunities. He might bless you with certain material possessions. He might give you talents and skills. All of these things start off as good. They become corrupt when they are separated from God.
David figured out that he had “good” things in life whether he was hiding in a cave from King Saul or living in Jerusalem as king of Israel. Even though there were times in his life when he sinned, when David was walking closely with the Lord he saw clearly the danger of following other gods and the importance of focusing on the one true God. As his experiences confirmed, nothing good would come of anything he gained apart from God.
This is true for us, too. If you got your promotion by undercutting a coworker who deserved it more than you did, then you got it apart from God. If you won a sales competition by fudging your numbers, then you got it apart from God. If you cut corners on quality to make an early tee time, then your work was done apart from God. If you hired a new employee based on his or her looks rather than skills, then you did so apart from God.
Only by walking closely with the Lord and focusing on the one true God can we have the genuinely good things in life.

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