By Rick Warren

“What do you have that God hasn’t given you? And if all you have is from God, why act as though you are so great, and as though you have accomplished something on your own?” (1 Corinthians 4:7 TLB).

Yesterday we talked about how trusting in God’s goodness helps us face life’s struggles. So, what happens when we forget God’s goodness?

When we forget God’s goodness, we start claiming credit for things God has done.

In Luke 12, Jesus tells a story of a rich man who had been very successful but didn’t give God any of the credit. This man thought he built his wealth all by himself. God says to him, “You fool. Tonight you’re going to die, and I’m going to give everything you’ve amassed to somebody else who will appreciate it and express their gratitude to me.”

That’s a sober warning!

Prideful ingratitude is the sin that got Satan kicked out of heaven, and it’s the source of all our sins. When you stop being grateful to God, you get into trouble: “Yes, [people] knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused” (Romans 1:21 NLT).

The problem with the self-made man is that he worships his maker. You may be thinking, Wait a minute; I built this business with my bare hands. But who gave you your hands? I thought up the business plan totally by myself. But who gave you your mind? I worked for where I got today by the sweat of my brow. But who gave you the ability to work so hard?

“What do you have that God hasn’t given you? And if all you have is from God, why act as though you are so great, and as though you have accomplished something on your own?” (1 Corinthians 4:7 TLB).

Everything you have in life—the ability to see, the ability to hear, the ability to eat, your freedom, your thoughts—you owe to God. You would not take your next breath if it weren’t for the goodness of God. You wouldn’t exist if God hadn’t made you to love you.

Ingratitude is actually one of the roots of atheism; when you’re ungrateful, you start dismissing or even denying what God has done. And that’s just a short step from denying that God even exists.

Yet the truth is we don’t even have to know a lot of the Bible to know a lot about God. All you have to do is walk outside. The Bible says it like this: “For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God” (Romans 1:20 NLT).

When you start to doubt the goodness of God, just take a step outside your door and look around!

REFLECT

  • Step outside for a few minutes and think about the goodness of God in the natural world. Think about more than just the easy-to-name things (such as sunshine, snow, trees). What do you notice when you go deeper?
  • What good things in your life do you tend to take credit for?
  • How does a wrong understanding of God’s character skew our perspective of life? How does it make us “dark and confused,” as Romans 1:21 says?

Give hope, prayer, and encouragement below.