“For this is the will of God, your sanctification”
1 Thessalonians 4:3
I’m just going to let this grow on you for a moment…
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Lately, the Lord has been chiseling away at a couple of different blemish areas in my life. Although I know that these seasons of growing and sanctification are for my good and a part of God’s will for my life, I find some days harder to get through than others. Some days I just throw my hands up at God and say, “I GET IT! I SUCK! I’ll work on it!”
Sanctification is not glamourous. Can I get an amen on that? Nonetheless, the Lord is SO good. He has truly been teaching me a lot. A few of these things I have not fully come to know all the Lord wants to teach me, but something I want to share with y’all is that nothing will ever come close to the plans of the Lord.
A few weeks ago I was having a fairly sad day. I couldn’t put my finger on what was bothering me, but for some reason I was in a funk. As I was sitting in the library, I listened to a friend explain his excitement as to what the Lord was doing in his life in terms of his future. He honestly had no clue what he was going to do, but he was filled with this indescribable joy because of his trust in the Lord.
I’m sure you’ve all heard about this indescribable joy. You know, the joy that is an inward expression from the Lord. However, I was dumbfounded. Why wasn’t I joyful? Where can I get that same joy?
Well, this bothered me. So much so, I could no longer focus on the homework in front of me. I got up to leave knowing that I just needed to go spend some alone time with the Lord. I wasn’t sure where to begin though. So I thought, “It’s probably just sin I have not repented.” Naturally, I read Psalm 51.
Nothing. No peace. No joy.
The next thing I thought to do was to start thanking God for things because the only other logical reason I could think of for the way I was feeling was ungratefulness. After listing off what seemed like the most superficial things to be thankful for, I burst into tears. I don’t even know where I was on my list, but all I heard was, “What are you believing?”
Good Q, God.
I knew I believed in God’s existence. That, to me, seemed impossible to deny. What I was not believing in was the Lord’s good intentions and faithfulness.
You see, like most of you, I have dreams and goals, and a pretty good idea of how I would like to see my life turn out like. Giving up control on how my life will play out is not at all attractive. Honest to goodness, surrendering my future plans scares the living daylights out of me. But here is what I am learning and what I want to encourage you with: The Lord will accomplish His purposes whether you go willingly, kicking or screaming, or not at all. The cool thing about our God is that He desires to have a relationship with us. He isn’t some Mr. Oz standing behind a big projector, with green smoke, dictating our every move. He is a God who has called us to intimacy with Him and has given us freedom to choose in life. God wants to use us in this life, the question is whether you will choose to allow Him to.
He has good things in store for us, but if our desire is to live our best life here on this temporary earth, then we are going to bury ourselves into the uncomfortable seats of the struggle bus. This life might not end up being how our flesh desires it to be, or even how the world desires it to be, but if we are living for the Lord, acknowledging Him, and doing what He has called us to do, then we will never be disappointed with the outcome. If you truly believe in the goodness of God’s intentions and His faithfulness, then joy is inevitable, even when life seems to take a turn for the worst.
That might be a little hard to swallow, but think about what would happen if we could get this right…you and I would be a force to be reckoned with. Unstoppable.
Our God is for us. He has never, and will never, forsake His promises. So rest knowing that He knows the futile plans we have created for ourselves, but He also knows the plans that He Himself has for us. Plans that He has to prosper us and not harm us; plans to give us hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11) Plans that are not withholding anything good from us. (Psalm 84:11)
So wherever God has you right now, He hasn’t forgot about you.
He hasn’t forgotten you when all your friends are getting into relationships, or getting married.
He hasn’t forgotten you when everyone else seems to have a clear idea as to what they want to do after college.
He hasn’t forgotten you when you didn’t get the job or the job promotion.
And he hasn’t forgotten you even when you don’t feel capable of being remembered.
The enemy loves to sneak his lies into our minds. Not only is he lying when he tells you that the Lord’s plans are not as good as your own, but he is also lying when he tells you that your performance, or your own being is directly related to how God’s plans play out. God’s plans for your life were created before the foundations of this world was created, and He’ll get done what He has planned regardless. You can’t screw up God’s plans.
Lastly, I want to briefly share a ground-breaking truth found in the book of Philippians.
“Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.”
Let’s stop searching for joy in other things and allowing the enemy to lead us back to the chains that Christ has set us free from. Let’s stop focusing on the shameful plans the world pushes us to pursue. We have been bought with a price. A very costly price at that—Christ’s death on the Cross. Therefore, if we have accepted Jesus as our Savior, confessing with our mouths Jesus as Lord and believing in our hearts that God raised Him from the dead, then we are CITIZENS OF HEAVEN. Not citizens of this world, citizens of heaven. A place where one day Christ will take our weak bodies and transform them into glorious bodies like His own with the same power which enables Him to bring everything under His control.
He safely holds your life in His righteous right hand. There is no reason to worry or to fear. Nobody compares to our God. No plan compares to His.
“Hear my prayer, LORD God Almighty;
Listen to me, God of Jacob.
Look on our shield, O God;
Look with favor on your anointed one.
Better is one day in your courts
Than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
Than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
For the LORD God is a sun and shield;
the LORD bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does he withhold
from those whose walk is blameless.
blessed is the one who trusts in you.”