Tuesday, September 29, 2015

God's Sovereignty - The Cure for Worry

In the drama of salvation, the principalities and powers conspired to derail God’s plan of redemption by putting to death the Son of God. They drastically underestimated the infinite wisdom of God because it was precisely through the blood of the cross that God was able to redeem a new people for himself....whenever the kingdom of evil seems to have won a great victory, one only needs to wait and see the wisdom of God at work. God has an amazing way of turning evil intent on its head and using it for far greater purposes.-Clinton E. Arnold, Ephesians Commentary.

Our society has been undergoing a lot of changes lately. We look at the news and we see the moral revolution that is so quickly changing our culture. Many Christians are finding themselves so discouraged by all this...they worry about what is happening. They may be especially discouraged by professing Christians who are now embracing this moral revolution as well. They see and hear so much Biblical truth being opposed that they struggle to find a light in the midst of it.

Maybe they would say, "God, where are you in all this? Why haven't you intervened? Why haven't you done something about this?" Maybe this is you...the one who's reading this. Maybe you are struggling with understanding why all of this is happening. Maybe you worry about the future of our world and where we're going. But here's where having a correct view of God's sovereignty can give us such great encouragement...

When we look at the Gospels...we see that God sent Jesus...a member of the Trinity, who was God Himself...God sent Jesus to earth. He came as a "light to those who sit in darkness"...He came and He healed people physically...He spoke out against the legalism that had pervaded Judaism...He spoke of salvation. Those who followed Him thought for sure that He would be the conquering king they hoped for...who would overthrow the Roman government and give the Jews the physical kingdom they desired...but God had other plans...He did intend to conquer...but His conquering would be spiritual rather than physical.

As the forces of evil opposed Him, His disciples despaired...they worried...they wondered why He didn't destroy them and be the conquering king they hoped for. But again...God had other plans. The forces of evil continued to oppose Him...they wanted to stop Him...they wanted to crush Him...they wanted to thwart His plan to bring salvation...so they trumped up charges against Him...they brought Him to trial and had Him crucified.

You can just imagine His followers thinking all hope was lost...their King was being killed...this was not how it was supposed to happen in their minds...their king died on a rugged cross...suffering unspeakably...and the forces of evil, both physical and spiritual rejoiced...they had won! This "King of the Jews" had died! Victory was theirs!

But this is not how the story ends...the very acts the forces of evil had used to try to thwart God's plan to save, had been the means by which this salvation was accomplished! This King Jesus did not stay dead...but He rose again! He conquered the grave, winning salvation for all who believe.

This is how our God delights to work. He turns evil actions of those who would oppose Him to accomplish His ultimate purposes. Our God is sovereign over everything!

This truth is a cure for our worry...in the face of such drastic changes that are happening...when we don't know which way is up...we can confidently hold onto the truth that God's purposes WILL be accomplished! No matter how the evil forces try to stamp out His truth...His truth will continue to go forward. We need not fear or worry about whatever happens in our world...because our God is sovereign.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Sin and selfishness

Lately I have noticed a pattern in my life...and that pattern is that when patterns of sinfulness begin to take a foothold in my life, I start acting more selfish it my thought processes. I guess this makes sense because sin in itself is selfishness. So, naturally selfishness breeds even more selfishness.

How does this play out practically in my life? Well, when I begin to allow myself to slip into patterns of sinfulness I often become very self-centered...this is seen in a lack of care for others...I don't really care about what's going on with other people...but I only care about myself. My all consuming thought is what can I get out of every interaction I have. This sounds like a harsh assessment of myself...but it is in fact a reality.

This truth reminds me of the fact that my sin doesn't just affect me...it affects my loved ones as well.

On the other side of this...when I am finding my joy in God...and not in my sinful pursuits...when there's a pattern of obedience in my life rather than a pattern of repeated sins...I find myself having a much more selfless way of thinking. I care a lot more about others...and I desire to help them and encourage them. Now of course I am never sinless...there are always sinful thoughts and actions that slip up in my life...that's the nature of being a fallen man...but when there's a pattern of pursuing God more than my sin...that's when a selfless attitude begins to be revealed in my life.

I'm sure I'm not the only Christian who notices this pattern in their life. But for me it reveals to me another reason why I want to pursue joy in my God rather than in my sin...because I know when I'm doing that...I can better serve and minister to my church...and love my loved ones...namely, my fiancee. :)