Romans 8.28: "We are assured and know that [ God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose" We live in an environment and in a system of social understanding that is bent on “creature comfort” and “well-being”, where to suffer as a victim in anyway is a crime warranting the highest utilization of the current legal system. This philosophy has penetrated the Church today in many different forms such as the “Blessing Movement”, "It's All About You" and “Certain Healing”.
As Christians we need to guard ourselves from this trend of entitlement thinking as it is a form of deception. God's Eternal Purpose in our lives is not to make us happy or blessed or to even answer all our prayers as we would want; but His Purpose is that Christ would be formed in us - that we would be Christ-like. This of course creates the potential for seemingly unpleasant experiences, personal offenses and loss of opportunity.
We as finite creatures fail to see beyond our noses, beyond what we can touch, farther than what feels nice or what we can understand. Because of our human limitations we cannot even understand what is the most beneficial for us - we cannot even define what would make us the happiest. People explain well-being and happiness by what they feel inside and what would make them sense acceptance and experience elevation socially, politically or economically.
Why? Why would God want us only to be like His Son?
We were made for the eternal, the deathless, the enduring, the forever. You can hear it in our love songs on the radio, in films and on the internet. We were made to live beyond our limitations, our fears and our misguided illusions of pleasure - anything less of a life would eventually lead to restless discontentment and wander-lust.
There is only one thing that lasts beyond death and decay and that is Jesus Christ. This world and all its pleasure, fashion, education and fame will pass and we like our ancestors will meet our certain end at death.
To allow the Bible to chose for us - to allow our lives to come under the Holy Spirit's leading and to give up the steering wheel to God's Plan; is to start down the path of true happiness, true blessedness and true love. Because only God knows what is best in His Plan for us. This is a scary thought to lose control but here is the way of true freedom.
We cannot interpret the quality of our lives by what we are experiencing today whether good or bad. We cannot say this way is better or I do not want this in my life - because we are so blinded by our own senses to what is really best for us.
Suffering in our lives is mostly misunderstood as a threat when it is truly the threshold to greater blessing and purer joy than we could have discovered ourselves.
I look at my life and I cannot say that I could have chosen a better way - I see the blessings around me, the people I love in my life and the adventure I live and know that I could not have brought this to pass even if I had tried!
We have to walk by faith trusting God’s Way is best not living in ignorance to the reason for certain events in our lives. Those things He allows to impact us has a Higher Purpose - that “All things work together for good for them that love God and that are called according to His Purpose” - “to be transformed into the likeness of His Son” so that we can experience the best He has for us.
It's not about us - but how we may lay our life down as Jesus did in His Father's Will...
I've been meditating and digesting A. W. Tozer's book "Fiery Faith" recently and noted for my personal study a series of quotes from his book. I hope you enjoy these and are as blessed as I was reading this spiritually meaty book
• Before there can be any faith there must be enlightenment first - Jn 6.44
• Faith is not abstract and is to be for the immediacy of the physical life - see the words that reflect the physical: "taste & see that The Lord is good" Ps 34.8
• Imagination tries to create - projects unreal images out of the mind and seeks to attach reality to them
• Faith creates nothing but simply reckons on what's already there.
• There is no difference between the spiritual and the real - one does not contradict the other - the spiritual is the real
• Faith is present - living in the present of God - people live in their past with God and they're in the future hope in God and the work but live lonely in the present because they live with out present of God in faith
• Christian rationalists, Christian moralists, vs Christian mystics
• Faith never goes contrary to reason - it just ignores the reasons and rises above it
• The original sin was not disobedience but it was unbelief. Unbelief always proceeds sin
• Faith cannot use tangible worlds like "mountain, star, lake" if it could it
would become pagan. Faith uses words that are intangible "love, forgiveness, promises"
•Unbelief is a moral thing. Living in unbelief is demoralizing because it assumes the immoral condition of the heart before it can exist.
• There are things reason cannot do that are beyond it's capacity, for example - “wonder” - "they all wondered at Him" leads to marveling - faith moved forward supernaturally and reason follows wide-eyed in amazement - this is the way it should always be
• A believing Christian is a miracle - the moment you can explain him he is no longer the wonder of a Christian but a religious idealist or religious philosophist
• Faith must rest on not the promises but on God's nature first or the promises are taken out of context and misapplied - promise follower vs Christ follower
• Ps 116.11 we are brought up in an environment of lies Jer 17.9
• Satan’s ﬁrst attack upon the human race was his sly eﬁort to destroy Eve’s conﬁdence in the kindness of God. Unfortunately for her and for us he succeeded too well. From that day, men have had a false conception of God, and it is exactly this that has cut out from under them the ground of righteousness and driven them to reckless and destructive living.
• Much Christianity since the days of Christ’s ﬂesh has also been grim and severe. And the cause has been the same - an unworthy or an inadequate view of God. Instinctively we try to be like our God, and if He is conceived to be stern and exacting, so will we ourselves be.
• They continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. (Acts 2:42) So says Luke of the thousands who received the Word and were baptized following the preaching of Peter on the day of Pentecost. Conversion for those ﬁrst Christians was not a destination; it was the beginning of a journey
• Came the revolution, quietly, certainly, and put another construction upon the word faith. Little by little the whole meaning of the word shifted from what it had been to what it is now. And so insidious was the change that hardly a voice has been raised to warn against it. But the tragic consequences are all around us. Faith now means no more than passive moral acquiescence in the Word of God and the cross of Jesus.
• Such a faith as this does not perturb people. It comforts them. It does not put their hip out of joint so that they halt upon their thigh; rather it teaches them deep-breathing exercises and improves their posture. The face of their ego is washed and their self-conﬁdense is rescued from discouragement. All this they gain, but they do not get a new name as Jacob did, nor do they limp into the eternal sunlight. “As he passed over Penuel..." Limping Gen 32.31
Sadly, all to often, I see the same disastrous pattern repeat itself - a pattern that is as old as man himself; people get settled & comfortable in a familiar rut that lulls them into a state of ease and passivity where a daily faith walk is no longer characteristic of their lives and Calvary's Cross becomes just optional furniture in the rooms of their soul. It is then the fatal mistake is made in a bad decision or a behavioral indiscretion that leaves a person paralyzed and a casualty. Friend, guard your heart, walk circumspectly and ponder the path of your feet. Take steps of faith in your calling and grow in grace and conviction daily. For the Devil as a roaring lion roams about seeking whom he may devour.