“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28
It was at a very early age, I feel deeply in love with God.
Everything God was, I adored.
Everything He had for me, I wanted.
Every Word He spoke, I was listening.
All things God, His sovereignty, His omnipotence, His love & mercy, even and especially His discipline & chastisement, I learned early to reverence, long for, and respect.
Growing deep into His Word, both spoken in personal quiet time, and His written Word (the Bible), I consumed all…
The more I matured in it over the years, and especially here and now in ministry, the more I began to see many “areas of opportunity” for the church to align completely with HIS Words, not our desires.
It is an unfortunate reality, but so often times we mistakenly see things that make us feel better, without taking it all into proper context. Namely, the conditions His Word lays out for us to obtain such blessing.
This opening scripture is just a “single grain of sand” in the “beach” of examples we can so easily miss and overlook scripturally. Take note of the title of this devotional, as it is to emphasize the nature of the specific audience that “all things will work together” for: to them who love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Does God love and desire the BEST for us? Of course… But those things that make us better spiritually, are the same things that will require our complete surrender of ourselves, or better: To Die. Christian living is not meant to make us “better;” it’s meant to “start completely over”
“Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a NEW creature: old things are passed away; behold, ALL things have become new.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17
“And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.” – Luke 9:23-24
To summarize, we have to take “the good” WITH the “sacrificial” All His promises are true, but they are usually not inclusive, usually they are exclusive. My father-in-law, our senior pastor and overseer, always says to “count the ‘if’s’ in the Bible” Salvation in and of itself is a HUGE example of these “conditional” verses:
“I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” – Luke 13:3
“For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” – Matthew 6:14-15
“If ye love me, keep my commandments.” – John 14:15
“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;”. – John 8:31
And there are so many countless examples of this, all throughout the scriptures.
God loves us, yes, and is merciful, but even mercy given to the woman caught in adultery, Jesus’ exhortation revealing the expectation was “Go and sin no more” (John 8:11) God’s mercy and love are designed to lead us to repentance, which leads to everlasting life.
Of course dear reader, you can never “earn” that salvation, but when He freely gives that precious eternal gift by way of grace & faith, we are to walk in the life of sacrifice that holiness would require. (1 Peter 1:16)
Prayer: Lord Jesus, forgive me if I have overlooked or misused Your Word. Let me not be presumptuous of Your Word to fit my desires, but may my desire become Your Word!