Over the years I have had a number of people ask me: James, things just aren’t working. Things just don’t look good. What am I supposed to do?
And I can understand how these people feel. I can understand their heart. We have all of these promises which God has given to us; what is the proper way to respond if what we are currently seeing doesn’t seem to line-up with what was promised?
Well, today we are going to answer those questions.
And the answers will strengthen our understanding of what is actually going on, as well as to enhance our perspective of God’s Grace and goodness, even when the situation looks bleak.
As you may know, my life has been filled with many challenges. Challenges of mind, and challenges of body. I’ve had many health issues over the years, and have also struggled with fear, anxiety, worry and doubt. I do not believe that I am alone in that – but in the face of those things, what is the appropriate response? How do we reconcile these experiences with the belief in the goodness and grace of a loving God? That’s the million dollar question.
Some people have completely abandoned faith, when faced with such situations. Others simply relegate all of it off to the will of God – that regardless of good or evil, all of it is God’s will.
The scriptures, however, don’t support either of those positions. In-fact, the scriptures repeatedly encourage us to stand against the enemy, to resist the devil, and to fight the good fight of faith. So if every thing that comes our way is the will of God, there would be no need for those exhortations – nor would there be any need for God to give us His armor (including the sword of the Spirit, an offensive weapon) if we are intended to simply roll-over and accept all things as the will of God.
And I say all of this specifically to encourage you, that not everything which encroaches upon your life is something to be automatically accepted with arms open and eyes closed. Not all things are from God, and not all things are good. The scriptures state that every good and perfect gift comes from above; from the Father of lights. (James 1:17) – which tells is a couple of interesting things… that there are some things which are not good or perfect, and that those things don’t come from the Father above.
How can we know the difference? Well the answer to that question is in the specific name of God which is revealed here, Father of lights. God is the source of all light, and gifts which He gives will always reveal His light. This is all confirmed and culminated in Jesus Christ, who is the ultimate gift of God and the ultimate light.
John 3:16 says that God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son with the result being that whoever believes on Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Jesus then later declares in John 8:12, that He is the light of the world, and that whoever follows Him will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.
What does this tell us? That the good and perfect gift is Jesus Christ Himself, and His light causes you to never walk in darkness.
It’s important to understand what the light of Christ actually does. Because there are some people who believe that the light of Christ exposes your sin, and causes you to feel guilt, shame or condemnation. Yet His light actually does not do that.
Think about what it means to be in the darkness, and what it means to be in the light. What effect does being in darkness have?
When you are in darkness, notice how all of the detail, and clarity can not be seen. Things can not be clearly defined, and everything seems dull.
But when you are in the light, everything is clear, everything is vibrant and colorful.
No-one turns on a light in order to see more darkness, or to see the darkness more profoundly. Not at all! But the light actually removes darkness.
Likewise, the light of Jesus does not cause you to see your sin more… but instead it completely removes sin once and for all! John made this fact absolutely clear when he saw Jesus walking towards him and yelled for all to hear: Behold the Lamb of God which takes away (completely removes) the sin of the world!
Obviously that’s an important detail for us to grab hold of. The Law of Moses was given to expose sin, and bring it to the forefront – that was the purpose of the Law (Galatians 3:19, Romans 7:7), however the purpose of Jesus is to remove sin for all time, for all who believe on Him.
So then we can conclude that anything which comes our way that tries to pull us away from the truth of Christ, or divert our attention and focus off of our status as righteous, holy and dearly loved children, is therefore not from Him!
Anything which comes in and tries to suggest that you are lacking, incomplete, unloved, unrighteous, unholy, or otherwise “dirty” – or any extension thereof – is not from your Heavenly Father.
This is why I have sometimes encouraged people to read the entire chapter of Deuteronomy 28… the list of blessings and curses of the Law… because even as you read those curses, you can rejoice today knowing that every single curse listed is an item which you have been completely freed from today in Christ Jesus! Galatians 3:13-14:
“Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangs on a tree:
That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”
Jesus redeemed us from the curse of the Law, by becoming a curse in our place. He didn’t die on the cross as Himself, He died on the cross as you and as me. Taking our place (it’s called substitutionary atonement). He substituted Himself in our place, taking our punishment and the curses all the way to death and final separation from God the Father, willingly giving up His Spirit of life – so that we would never have to endure that ourselves.
Therefore, if any thing, ANYTHING dares to come to you today and suggest that you, as a beloved child of God in Christ, is cursed in any way, or somehow separated from God, or His mercy, grace or blessings… you can rightly and justly stand against such a lie in Christ and you can boldly declare that indeed you are loved, blessed, righteous, and holy – for no other reason than the finished work of Christ Jesus on the cross! His death, burial and resurrection is your assurance.
You see my friend, regardless of how such a lying message might come: whether it be a word, a thought, a feeling, even symptoms in your body (I’ve had plenty) none of that can hold a candle to the truth of Christ and His finished work.
We walk by faith, and not by sight (2nd Corinthians 5:7)
What this means is we do not ultimately judge based on outward evidence. We do not live by feelings, thoughts, emotions, or the words of men. The truth of Christ and the divine information of what He has done is what really counts.
The whole reason the enemy holds up a dark filter around your life is because he doesn’t want you to see the bright-shining radiance of Christ all around you.
He will hold-up a distorted fun-house style mirror in front of you and try to convince you that you really look like that – but it’s not true!
We know it’s not true, because Christ died to make you beautiful inside and out! And He took great pains on that cross to declare for all to hear and for it to be recorded throughout history that It is finished! All has been accomplished! Paid in full!
I believe that Jesus meant what He said.