Friday, March 27, 2015

Pondering the "tions"...

I've been pondering the connection between what some people call opposition and what I think might be superstition because I think it's sanctification.

A lot of stuff has been happening around here.  Lots of things breaking...vehicles, appliances, sewer...  And, there is specific work stress, and Caleb's hospitalization...And, big changes in ministries...

When people hear about it, I'm told one of two things...

Let's start with the easy one...Superstition..."Things always happen in threes" (which incidentally stinks to hear if you're on number 5 or, who wants to start counting when cruddy, hard stuff is happening?...)  Now, don't get mad...I've said it myself.  And, sometimes it does seem like three major things happen close together.  But, if that's my answer to people all the time...well, it's rather hopeless isn't it.  It's like, "Well, quick count to three...stuff happens...move on!"

The other thing I hear is...Opposition..."Boy, you are totally under serious opposition.  I'll pray for you!"  One of my first questions is...opposition from whom?  God or Satan?  Then I get all wigged out because I'm not sure who...What if God doesn't want me to be moving in this new direction...or maybe it's Satan trying to tempt me to quit.  Ack!  And, truly in my pondering of that particular conundrum...I realized that you really can't always know the answer...Truly, it doesn't much matter...because...

I am living out God's progressive sanctification in my life.  As I grow in grace, I am gradually – but steadily – changing to be more like Jesus (2 Corinthians 3:18). This occurs in a process of daily spiritual renewal (Colossians 3:10).  In Philippians, Paul talks about being sanctified even as he ministered to others. Paul claimed that he had not reached perfection, but that he “pressed on” to attain everything Christ desired for him (Philippians 3:12).  

I know that there are things in my life and heart that need to change in order for this to happen.  I pray often that God won't leave me the same and will make those changes.  

Trials, both big and small, change me.  God isn't opposing me or letting Satan mess with me, "No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it." 1 Cor. 10:13

God is answering my prayer and making me learn, change and grow.  My Heavenly Father knows me and parents me well.  "No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it."  Hebrews 12:11

I want to look back on difficult times like this and see God's faithfulness in huge bold print.  If I blow it off as a superstition or an undefined opposition then I might miss how He's sanctifying He's for me.

"What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
 As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Romans 8:31-39 (Emphasis mine)


Barbara H. said...

Or the full moon - that gets blamed or credited with a lot, too. I've had acquaintances who saw every little thing as opposition from the devil. I think that gives him too much credit.

In Layton Talbert's book Beyond Suffering: Discovering the Message of Job, he comments that sometimes a situation can be from both God and Satan at the same time. Satan obviously did what he did to Job with God's permission, but in a number of verses God claimed responsibility as well. It's refreshing to know He can use even Satan's attacks for our sanctification - doesn't make them easier or more pleasant, but it helps.

Anonymous said...

This really spoke to me today. We spent so many many years with bad thing after bad thing happening while working full time ministry and people constantly telling us that it's because we are doing God's work and we are being attacked by Satan. So now that we are out of full time ministry and we can you know afford food, and gas and Finally praise God a house, i keep thinking well does this mean that Satan gave up persecuting us because we are no longer a threat? This is such a heavy burden to carry. This guilt. So I needed to hear this today. Thanks, Gill