Sanctification: How God turns bad to good
Joy versus happiness: we all want to be happy, but do we strive to be joyful? Happiness is external. An ice cream cone can make you happy. Joy, on the other hand, is internal. How do we experience joy? Through sorrow.
set apart as or declare holy; consecrate.free from sin; purify.To make me like you
God’s main purpose in our lives is to make us like Jesus. He wants you to possess love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, kindness, faithfulness, and self-control. Those are the qualities He wants for you.
We are taught through opposites; pain teaches us pleasure, sorrow teaches us joy. To teach us to love, we will be surrounded by people who are hard to love (does that sound familiar?). He uses:
- His Holy Spirit
- His word
- other people
- problems (pressures/pain/suffering)
Every problem has a purpose. We are transformed by our troubles. There is a reason for everything.
At this point, Pastor Warren said that he would read us a verse that is one of the most amazing and most misunderstood passages in the Bible.
28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. 29 For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.Rom 8:28-29
God planned you as He plans all things. See my favorite verse for reinforcement:
He causes all things to be. This idea can be confusing. Does God cause bad things to be? Why isn’t everything good if God plans it all?
Not everything is good, but God causes it to work together for good.
The world is broken, and its inhabitants have free will. As with the struggle with Jacob, our freedom to make our own choices is important to God. That explains why there is so much bad in the world. When He made plans for our lives, He did not stop bad things from happening, but He did cause every thing to work together for good.
We know that these troubles produce patience. And patience produces character…
Opposites teach us what we know of the main qualities in life. What is happiness without sadness? What is joy without sorrow? Is not happiness measured in the amount that it differs from sadness? What is dark without light?
Instead of asking “why is this happening?” ask “what can I learn?”
Every event in your life is an opportunity for growth.
You are exactly where God wants you to be
This is the great lesson of the wonderful book The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo; that you should trust that you are just where you need to be. Even those times that feel like setbacks, missteps, even the times you think you are lost, each and every moment has a purpose and is part of the plan for your life. When you find yourself in a dead-end job and you lament that you are wasting your life, no time is being wasted. You are being held in that moment until you learn what it needs to teach you. Sometimes God “boxes you in” to a situation until you learn what you need to know. No one ever said the path of your life would be straight and simple; the detours are as important as the distance.
Another wonderful passage that I learned about in Bible Study last year: Jacob’s son Joseph goes from favorite child to prisoner. He is thrown in a pit by his brothers, sold into slavery, falsely accused of a crime and imprisoned. It seems as though his life is being wasted with bad luck. When he is reacquainted with his brothers he is the Pharaoh’s main advisor. He is powerful and well-respected, even feared. His brothers fear that he will want retribution for how they tried to ruin his life. He says:
You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.
So when you are feeling lost or ruined, how do you respond?
1. Remember that God’s plan is good
2. Rejoice and give thanks
3. Refuse to give up
There is a lesson and a plan in everything. Are you lost, or are you being shown a better path? Are you stuck, or are you being held in place for a lesson? It is in your hands to do something about this. YOU need to find the lesson, the significance. YOU need to find the significance in each moment.
You could pray:
“God, make this easy” or “God, make this for good.”
“Comfort me” or “Conform me”
What you choose is your choice.
Watch this sermon (from Rwanda!) here.