Saturday, May 10, 2008

God Can Use The Bad

Spiritual growth is not easy. It requires more than reading books, singing songs, listening to sermons, and placing a few dollars in the offering plate. For spiritual growth requires that we follow Jesus, and we do that by applying God's Word to our lives.

It would make sense that Satan, our great enemy, would throw many different obstacles into our path to prevent us from truly following Jesus and thus from maturing in our faith. Satan will throw out fear to get us to hold back rather than following Jesus into the unknown. Satan will sit the trap of temptation causing us to miss out on experiencing God at work in our lives as we pursue the pleasures of sin. He will dig the hole of guilt causing us to fall in as forget about God's grace and forgiveness and allow ourselves to be overwhelmed by the sin that is in our lives.

I have good news for you: God uses Satan's obstacles as opportunities to make us better people! Just as Joseph told his brothers; "As far as I am concerned, God turned into good what you meant for evil" (Genesis 50:20; NLT), we can be certain that God will use the bad in our lives to bring about good. God is so powerful that He can even turn evil into good!

The key for us is not to give up. When things aren't going our way and the weight of the world is on our shoulders it becomes so easy to throw in the towel. We convince ourselves that following Jesus isn't worth the hardships of life. Remember the promise of God is that when we remain faithful He will bring about the change. We have to live our lives by faith. Remember what the Lord's brother wrote in his epistle:

Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything. ~ James 1:2-4; NLT

James says that we should approach trials with joy, because we know God can use them to produce in us character that is more in line with the character of Jesus. Because God loves us He will not waste our painful experiences, our failures, or our troubles. He will use them to make us stronger, and in many cases, He will use them for the benefit of others.

When trials, troubles, and failures come our way shouldn't get discouraged and wonder where God is. Rather we should respond with trust knowing that through even the most horrible of circumstances God can bring about His will and create us to be a more like His Son Jesus.

  • Point to Ponder: God uses Satan's obstacles as opportunities to make us better people!
  • Passage to Remember: James 1:2-4
  • Question to Consider: Are you willing to do whatever it takes to follow Jesus?

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