Amy Baker
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Changing My Definition of Good

April 21, 2017

Amy Baker

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Amy Baker

Like everyone else, I consider myself a busy person. When I’m in the middle of a project, being interrupted to deal with a problem or concern from someone else tempts me to think, “I don’t need this right now.” I see the interruption as a bad thing, and I believe I am being taken away from doing more important work.

Recently I’ve meditated on Psalm 34:10 and Psalm 84:11:

“The young lions do lack and suffer hunger; but they who seek the Lord shall not be in want of any good thing” (Psalm 34:10).

“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord gives grace and glory; No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:11).

As a result, I’ve been reminded that I often have a wrong definition of “good.”

My Wrong Definition

I think it would be a good thing to have time without interruption. I think it would be a good thing to not have to work on problems that someone else has created. I think it would be a good thing to get to choose how my time will be spent. (Basically, I think it would be a good thing to have life revolve around me.)

I Lack No Good Thing

According to the passages from the Psalms that I mentioned earlier, I am not lacking anything good. Not anything! Therefore, if it would be a good thing for me to have time to work on projects without interruption, that’s exactly what I would get. If it would be a good thing for me to not have to work on problems someone else has created, that’s exactly what I would get. If it would be a good thing for me to have complete control over my schedule, that’s exactly what I would get. (And, if it would be a good thing for me to have life revolve around me, that’s exactly what I would get.)

God does not withhold any good thing from me, yet I often look at his good gifts and define them as annoyances, frustrations, or something else far from good. My definition of good needs to change.

Thank God that he continues to be good to one of his creatures (me) who looks at his good gifts and despises them. Praise God that he didn’t back away from working on problems I have created. And, all of us would agree, God should be praised that life doesn’t revolve around me!

I Need to Change My Definition of Bad

I also need to change my definition of “bad.” If God does not withhold any good thing from me, it stands to reason that it would be a bad thing for me to have some of the things I think I want. Of course, that’s not to say that the things I want are intrinsically bad or that I shouldn’t work toward some of the things I don’t have now; they are just bad for me at this particular moment of my life. They may actually be good for me at another point in my life. For example, God now considers it good for me to be able to drive a car, but he withheld that responsibility from me as a young child.

God knows the good things that I need to draw me into a more intimate relationship with him and to equip me to reflect his beauty more accurately, and he doesn’t withhold any of them. He knows why certain things would be bad for me and would hinder me from intimacy with him. The question is this, “Am I willing to change my definition of “good things” to reflect that I value an intimate relationship with my Lord?”

Steps to Changing My Definition

Here are some steps to changing my definition of “good things.” I hope they will be useful to you as well.

  • Memorize these three verses:
    • Psalm 119:68 (NLT)- “You are good and do only good; teach me your decrees.”
    • Psalm 34:10 (NASB)- “The young lions do lack and suffer hunger; But they who seek the Lord shall not be in want of any good thing.”
    • Psalm 84:11 (NASB)- “For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord gives grace and glory; No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.”
  • Daily thank God for the interruptions He has planned for me.
  • Smile at the people who bring the interruption (rather than making them feel bad because they have intruded).
  • Ask God for his perseverance in helping me to value him more than my plans.
  • Make good plans, but offer them to God by praying and expressing a willingness to submit to his plan for my time.
  • Ask forgiveness from people whom I treat as annoyances because they have interfered with my plans.

By God’s grace, I want to learn a new definition of “good.” I want to learn to classify interruptions (or anything else God brings into my life) as good, not because those things have intrinsic value in and of themselves, but because God is giving me opportunities to know him more intimately and to display his beauty and his worth. And, in extreme case where someone actually means to do evil to me, I can ask God to help me remember that he even uses evil to conform me into the likeness of Christ (cf. Genesis 50:20). How sweet it is to belong to a God who is good and does only good!

Questions for Reflection

How have you dealt with these types of annoyances? How have you tried to help counselees deal with them biblically?