Recently, in our Thursday Bible Study, we have been studying Unhitching from the Crazy Train: Finding Rest in a World You Can’t Control by Julie Sparkman. The link on the title is to Amazon where you can buy the book. The link on her name is where you can buy her videos and workbook and see where her ministry is. Honestly, it is a study of Matthew 11:28-30. There is much about the study that has been helpful to me personally and to our women. No,I have not been paid to say this.
OK, where was I? Oh yes, a couple of weeks ago, we were talking about a hard one. It had to do with our choices. In the title, I stated it negatively. Do our bad choices limit GOD? The other side of it has to do with a theology many of us carry in our heads about our good choices.
Many of us have a theology that says, “If I make good choices, GOD owes me to make everything work out right.” No, of course, we don’t say it that way. But do you know how it shows? When we hit hard times and can’t understand why those hard times hit US! When we dig a little deeper, we find that we were expecting GOD to pay us back because we did the right thing! When He didn’t, we got royally ticked off! I have so been there.
But have you ever noticed that we can get stumped by our good choices? They can often be a source of pride and can keep us gliding rather than depending on GOD each day. No, I’m not suggesting that we need to make bad choices just for the heck of it. But do you ever feel that your bad choice leaves you wide open for failure? That somehow GOD is not going to be able to bless you because you messed up and now it is all over for you?Many of us have a theology that says, If I make good choices, GOD owes me to make everything work out right. No, of course, we don't say it that way. But do you know how it shows? When we hit hard times and can't understand why those hard… Click To Tweet
What happened with the non-Christian who makes many bad choices before they become a Christian? GOD saves them and they move on to grow in grace despite the many sins and failures of their past. Does He only forgive them and not you since you knew better?
The truth is that the fact that you were a virgin when you married, married a Christian spouse, never looked at another person beside your spouse after you married, did all manner of things to live out a good marriage, obeyed all the things on your list of Christian “to do’s…” None of them recommends you to GOD. None of them will prevent GOD from doing a work in you if it is the time He knows you need His intervention in your life. His goal for you and me is to make us more like Jesus. How He does it will be different for each person.
Remember that GOD’s goals for us are different than our goals for ourselves. His goal for us to make us more like Him.
So whether you are reaping consequences of your own making from bad choices or whether you made good choices and are still having hard times, trust that GOD is in control of your life…because He is! The purposes He has for you will be accomplished. Right now, you may be going through a hard time for whatever reason. It may simply be because you are living in a very broken world.
If you are in Christ, the fact is that He is in you, He loves you and is present in you in the form of the Holy Spirit. You are not alone like an orphan. He is growing and training you. But it is not in a heartless boot camp. Just as some things a parent must do to help train a child may seem mean to someone looking from the outside, that may be what Jesus’ training camp looks like for us to someone who doesn’t know the full picture.
Our sin was in the future when Jesus died on the cross for our sin: past, present and future.
When Jesus died on the cross, how many of your sins were in the future? All of them, right? How many of them did He forgive when He died? All of them, right? When we come to Christ and tell Him we understand that we can’t do life without Him anymore, we are asking Him to forgive our sin, past, present and future and take it all on Jesus as He did on the cross. We are asking Him to bring about the changes that He knows are needed in our lives. We want Him to be LORD of our lives and accomplish the purposes He has for us…no matter what kind of decisions we have made…and none of us have always made good decisions. That is the big truth! Romans 3:10-12 ESV
Here is a very comforting passage. But it also forces us to grapple with some difficult issues as well.
remember the former things of old;
for I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like me,
declaring the end from the beginning
and from ancient times things not yet done,
saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,
and I will accomplish all my purpose,
Isaiah 46:9-10 ESV
Call to Action: Think about one event in your life that was either a bad decision that causes you great regret or a great decision that gives you pride. Where was GOD in that decision? Where has He been since on that path? How has your movement through GOD’s purpose for you deepened your relationship with Him?