A body of water called If Only

By Dave Henning / March 27, 2018

“The widest river on earth is a body of water called If Only.  Throngs of people stand on its banks and cast longing eyes over the waters. . . .  They are convinced the If Only river separates them from the good life.”- Max Lucado

“I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”- Philippians 4:12 (NIV)

In Chapter 7 (“Great Gratitude”) of Anxious for Nothing, Max Lucado states that Christ-based contentment turns us into strong people subtitle).  First, Pastor Lucado asks: Does it seem like the good life is always one step away?  If that question rings true, Max notes, you’ve traced your anxiety back to one of its sources.

Therefore, the author underscores, our change in attitude toward our circumstances signals the start of the good life.  In addition, the apostle Paul embeds two essential words deserving special attention in Philippians 4:6-7: with thanksgiving (emphasis Max’s).  Thus, Pastor Lucado describes gratitude as:

  • a mindful awareness of the benefits of life
  • the greatest of virtues
  • the miracle cure – if it came in pill form
  • leading us off the river bank of If Only and escorting us into the fertile valley of Already

As a result, gratitude means thankfulness for what God’s already given us.  Hence, it doesn’t connote  what we wish we possessed to put life on cruise control.

In conclusion, Max talks about the effect of gratitude on anxiety – the secret of happiness:

“As you look at your blessings, take note of what happens.  Anxiety grabs his bags and slips out the back door.  Worry refuses to share the heart with gratitude.  One heartfelt thank-you will suck the oxygen out of worry’s world.  So say it often.”

Today’s question: How does Christ-based contentment give you strength?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Contingent contentment”

About the author

Dave Henning

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