The real good news

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AUSTRALIA | JARROD STACKELROTH

Every now and then, it’s a valuable exercise to remind myself what I’ve gained by being an Adventist Christian. It’s easy to become complacent and forget what we’ve been saved from and for when our lives are comfortable, when our faith is sure, and when we have been walking the Way for a while.

A healthy and dynamic faith will experience growth and change, and during these times, faith is challenged, stretched, and pushed. This is healthy but it is also hard.

That’s why it’s important to reflect and remember. As Moses urges the people: “Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them” (Deuteronomy 4:9). Don’t get me wrong, being a Christian is not about personal gain (at least it shouldn’t be). And I don’t mean focusing on the ‘Sweet By-and-By:’ abstract ideas of eternal life and the new earth. Those things are great. But they’re not enough to keep faith robust and growing.

Beyond the spiritual benefits, there are some very practical considerations to be thankful for. Our church gives us family members around the world. We have people who love and care for us when our families are sometimes far away or toxic.

Personally, I have tendencies toward impatience (read: a bit of a temper), prejudice, self-doubt, and over-indulgence (just to name a few) that the love of Christ in me and for me fights against.

I am thankful for the Adventist health message. I am proud to say I’ve never had an alcoholic beverage. I fear if I’d been more exposed to alcohol in my life, I’d be susceptible to alcoholism.

I’m glad for my Christian parents who trained me to the best of their knowledge to love God and follow his will for my life. I’m thankful that they modeled loyalty to their church, provided me with an Adventist education, and built a home of love and security for me to grow up in. I was protected from many unhealthy influences.

When I’ve struggled to love my wife, I’ve been reminded to lay down my life as Christ laid down his life for me; not just theoretically, I’ve felt Jesus close, sharing my pain and encouraging me through the valleys. My wife becoming pregnant and our experience of parenthood after years of longing and uncertainty answered many prayers and tears. Not