Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Focusing on God's Long-term Glory

I've been reading a fascinating book lately called, Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands by Paul David Tripp.  This is by far the deepest and most biblical book I have ever read, I highly recommend it and will be posting a review on it as soon as I finish the last two chapters!  

     In this book, Tripp talks about the fact that our downfall as humans is that we focus too much on the small things happening now.  We go through a struggle and so we huff and puff and throw up our hands in agony, complaining that God doesn't love us and that we don't deserve such treatment.  We run into a problem and so we give up because "God is punishing us."

The contrast to this is the great gospel of Christ!  You see, when we understand the gospel in its entirety we no longer think this life is about us.  We realize that from Genesis to Revelation and beyond, the story was, has been, and will always be about God and his glory, sovereignty, and grace.  

God made us without sin, we were clean and holy, just like Him (Genesis 2:25.)  As sinful humans though, we chose out of our own free will to go and deliberately do what God told us not too (Genesis 3:6-7.)  Yes, Satan encouraged us, but  the ultimate decision was up to us.  Rather than reacting like a human, God did the opposite.  He punished us to a less extreme than what we deserved (Genesis 3:16-19,) then forgave us and extended his love and grace to us--even though we in no way deserved it (Genesis 3:20-21.)  Through this we see just how desperately we need an almighty God to protect and deliver us from the sins of our human nature.

Fast forward throughout the entire Bible and you see the same story unfold, just with different details.  The Israelites cursed God and turned to worship other things, God is hurt and angry, so he punishes them, but not nearly to the degree they deserve, and then he forgives them with open arms.  If you've ever read the Old Testament you know that this happens thousands of times with God's people.

Next you have the New Testament, where God really shows off his love for us.  He comes to earth in human form, is tempted and tried like the rest of us, and then chooses to die a terrible death for us, so that we might ultimately be able to get back to him (John 3:16.)  Why? Because he chose us, he loves us, and he desires to live with us. (Romans 5:8, 1 John 4:19)

Jump forward another 2000 years to your own life.  You're mad and crying because you just found out you lost your job, or that your spouse is cheating on you.  No doubt these are hard times, and no doubt you have the right to be sad, angry, or confused.  That's part of our human emotions.  But light years down the road you will see that this was all part of God's glory (Romans 8:28, James 1, .  He uses every situation as an opportunity to bring us closer to Him, to show off His love for us, and to remind us that he has everything in control.

Although you don't see it now, He really does have a plan in all this (Romans 10:17, Hebrews 11:1.)  He wants to bring you closer to him if you will just let him.  Look at yesterday's post for more on letting God comfort you.

As for now, hold tightly to the scripture God gives you, pray unceasingly (1 Thessalonians 5:17,) and trust that God knows what he's doing (Proverbs 3:5-6.)

Further Reading: Galatians 1:10, The book of Job, Matthew 6:44, 1 Corinthians 2:5, Philippians 1, Numbers 14

Where is your focus this week? Having you been putting too much emphasis on the current problems and not enough power in God's hands?  What do you need to lay down in order for God to glorify Himself through your current situation?