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Discerning The Unwanted

No one inherently desires negative aspects of life. In every human being is a desire for peace. Even when we fight, we do so with the end result of peace in mind. In fact, if life was full of peace there would be no need for war because all would have everything.

The truth is, however, that we have negative circumstances that arise in life. The question I have is how do you perceive your negative moments in life. I believe that many of us perceive our negative moments in three ways: God’s judgment, a conspiracy against us, or we deserve it. While all of three of these conclusions may be valid, the conflict often comes when we apply the wrong conclusion to our circumstance.

If we conclude that we are being judged by God when in all actuality there is a conspiracy against us to make our life difficult, we accuse God falsely.

If we are receiving natural consequences to natural choices but we accept those consequences as God’s judgment we run the risk of questioning God’s mercy, bringing us then into an ungodly fear or bitterness towards God.

If we decide that we are being conspired against when we are actually continuing to suffer the consequences of unwise decisions, we damage our ability to have healthy and effective relationships because we are always looking for someone to blame for our problems.

If we chose to accept the negative situations as a perpetual cycle of consequence of wrong choices rather than God’s corrective judgment, we will be blinded to the grace of God that is available to help us overcome the consequences.

If we conclude that there is a conspiracy  against us when it is actually God judging us, we either fail to repent and sink deeper into immorality or become a religious fanatic who declares their own exclusive standard of righteousness.

If we accept the negative as natural consequences for wrong choices when there is really a conspiracy, we judge ourselves as inferior to our surroundings and immerse ourselves in self-hatred.

So how do we discern the source of these unwanted experiences in our lives? The first thing we must understand is that God is a loving God and like any other parent, He has standards. But unlike many parents, God understands that we can never fully meet those standards in our own strength. So, He sent His Son, Jesus, to be punished for our imminent failure. If we accept Jesus’ replacement for us, when we fail we can go to God and ask Him to forgive us and He does it quickly (I John 2:1-2).

Not only do we have the ability to be forgiven for our failures, God sends His Spirit to live in our hearts to empower us to live out His standard (Galatians 5:16-17). God does judge us when we fail, but His judgment only endures up to the point of our sincere repentance (II Chronicles 7:14, Hebrews 12:11).

The second thing we must understand is that even though God is a forgiving God, nature is not. There is a law that is forever stitched throughout nature since God’s declaration to Noah in Genesis 8:22: sowing and reaping. This natural universal law is expressed in different ways. Some call it Karma while in the streets it is simply said that “what goes around comes around” (Galatians 6:7-8). 

God’s mercy may cancel out His judgement, but it will never cancel out His eternal Word. Therefore, even when we have been forgiven for past sins and God nullifies His consequence of eternal judgment, we must still reap the consequences of wrong decisions. However, God’s grace to help us endure those consequences is always available (II Corinthians 12:9). We just have to accept it.

Finally we must understand that there is a league of entities that exist for no other reason than to conspire against you. It is made up of Satan and his natural (human) and supernatural (fallen angels) agents. He desires to make your life an exponential whirlwind of negative experiences. From the point that we are conceived in the womb, Satan and his army unleashes conspiracy attack against us. Their strategy is comprised of three primary elements (John 10:10): death, theft and destruction.

The great news is that regardless to how intelligent and conniving he is in his efforts to conspire against us, as long as we remain in compliance to God’s standard and repentant towards God even if we fail, Satan’s conspiracy strategy remains unsuccessful (Revelation 12:9-11). He may launch his negative attacks but as long as we do not respond in any way that defies God’s standard, we remain victorious (James 4:7).

We must judge ourselves by the Word of God to determine if we are in compliance with His standard. If we are experiencing negative situations even though we are in compliance we must determine whether or not it is the fruit of bad choices we’ve made in our recent or distant past.

Sometimes this requires us being mature enough to allow others to help judge our lives. If it is determined that we are not in compliance or the negative is due to some wrong choice of the past we must immediately repent.

If we cannot trace the negative experience back to a seed of wrong choice, we must engage the kingdom of darkness through persistent obedience, the Word of God and the blood of Jesus. If we consistently make ourselves accountable to the Word, we won’t fear negative experiences. Instead we will learn how to welcome and appreciate the unwanted experience.

James 1:4 MSG
Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

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