4 Ways God is at work whether you like it or not…

Way #1: God intentionally guides your steps by helping you recognize your ignorance.

If we take the Bible at face value we immediately come to the conclusion that we don’t know as much as God. It was this understanding that caused Job to say he wouldn’t speak in God’s presence, only listen (Job 50:3-5).

When I was a student and I recognized I didn’t know something my hand went up. My curiosity with subjects where I was ignorant had me looking for answers. The one with a teachable spirit comes with a desire to learn. David had this in the 25th Psalm.

Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the daylong (Psalm 25:4-5).

Way #2: God actively shapes your desires by not giving you what you want.

The writer of Psalm 73 was jealous of the wicked. The wrongdoer had been able to accomplish his objectives even though he took advantage of others to do it. But, surprisingly, something happens towards the end of the Psalm. Because the Psalmist’s selfish desires were not satisfied, his desires changed. He discovered what it was like to desire only God.

Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever (Psalm 73:25-26).

In a world where Wal-Mart makes everything available at one low price, it’s a little hard to grasp this concept. Yet, when God withholds our earthly desires from us, we have a greater tendency to desire things of eternal value. This is the truth that Christians in third world countries have already grasped – it explains the smiles on their faces when they have so few earthly goods.

Way #3: God purposefully strengthens your faith by allowing you to feel your weaknesses.

No one argues this point as clearly as the apostle Paul. Three times he had asked the Lord to remove his thorn in the flesh. After that third request he heard from the Lord. While the answer was not what he had prayed for, he didn’t flee from his weaknesses he embraced them.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Cor. 12:9-10).

Paul is OK with feeling weak; because, it increased his faith in the God who is strong.

Way #4: God graciously fosters your eternal perspective as you live among temporary injustices.

There are things in this world that do not seem fair or just. One man does time for a crime he never committed, and another commits a vile crime and is never brought to justice. Justice will always be imperfect in a fallen world. But while we grieve with those who are victims of injustice, we acknowledge that injustices in this world are temporary and they get us longing for another land and another time. Our attention should be drawn heavenward. There things are right. There justice is true.  

For people…make it clear that they are seeking a homeland…as it is they desire a better country that is a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city (Heb. 4:14, 16).

It is good to serve a God who can take our ignorance, weaknesses, unfulfilled desires, and perceived injustices, and, using these, make us more like Jesus.

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One comment on “4 Ways God is at work whether you like it or not…

  1. Jo Schreiner says:

    Thank you Pastor Phil for reminding me that my citizenship is in heaven. How can I become discouraged when I keep focused on things above.

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