Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Friday, 25 October 19:
Jeremiah 42:6 – “Whether it is good or bad, we will obey the voice of the Lord our God to whom we are sending you, that it may be well with us when we obey the voice of the Lord our God.”
God’s view of what is “good” or “bad” is far different than our view, and even what is bad cannot prevail against God’s perfect will. As Romans 8:28 explains, “For those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans goes on to say, “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” (Romans 8:29) According to God’s word, when we are in fellowship with God, He uses all circumstances (good or bad) for good purposes beyond our understanding in order to conform us to the image of His Son. If we allow circumstances to hinder our fellowship with Him, failing to trust Him, to obey Him, and to remain joyful (though not necessarily happy), we only hinder God’s blessings in our lives.
We might think when we get what we want it is good, and when we don’t it is bad, but if what we want is not what He wants, we misinterpret the circumstances, misinterpret God’s ways, and set ourselves up for unnecessary pain. Faith trusts God now, in our circumstances, and hope trusts God with the future. When we don’t trust God in the moment and with the future, it only leads us to sin and make matters worse. No one wants to go through hard times, but often hard times are what are needed to glorify God and conform us to the image of Christ. Even self-induced trials (which are many) will be used by God to sanctify us when we draw closer to Him in our weakness. This is why the Bible tells us to rejoice in trials, tribulations, and suffering (Matt 5:12; Luke 6:23; 1 Pet 4:13; James 1:2; Rom 5:3; 1 Thes 1:6). “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5, 6)
A couple of additional points from today’s readings:
2 John 1:9-11 – “Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.”
During hard times, that last thing you need is advice from those who don’t abide in the teachings of Christ. In fact, John warns to avoid the influence of such people in any situation. Pay close attention to who is influencing you in life. “Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” (1 Corinthians 15:33)
2 John 1:12 — Though I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink. Instead I hope to come to you and talk face to face, so that our joy may be complete.
Often times, distance prevents us from being with loved ones, so we must communicate through various medias. However, today’s technologies have made it tempting for us to substitute emails, texts and tweets for face to face meetings, robbing us of the complete joy of relationships we could experience. We get busier and busier and simultaneously more isolated and impersonal. “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24, 25) Note the Bible says, in our harried world, we must meet together “all the more.”
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 25 October 19: Today, focus on trusting God and glorifying God in all your circumstances.