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Accountable to God

Are you accountable to anyone? We all need accountability because it serves as a guardrail, keeping us on the right path. Some people act as if they answer to no one, and yet ultimately we’re all accountable to God and will one day stand before Him to be judged.

The Bible describes two separate judgments—one will be for believers (2 Corinthians 5:9-10) and the other, for unbelievers (Revelation 20:11-15). The basis for both is a person’s works, but the outcomes are quite different. Since Christ bore divine judgment for the sins of His followers, they will never be held accountable for transgressions. So when Christians stand before Christ, their works will be evaluated for the purpose of rewards. But unbelievers will be held responsible for sins they committed and will be sentenced to eternal punishment.

What is your first reaction to our future judgment? You might feel scared if you have not trusted Jesus as your Savior. If so, this is an opportunity to consider asking Him into your heart. But for those of us who have placed faith in Him, the thought of evaluation should inspire thanksgiving for Jesus’ sacrifice. It should also motivate us to live in a manner pleasing to God so we can hear Him say, “Well done!”

How can you know God?

It all starts with accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Jesus Christ provides a relationship with the Father and eternal life through His death on the cross and resurrection, see Romans. 5:10.

Romans. 10:9 promises, "If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." If you have not yet begun your personal relationship with God, understand that the One who created you loves you no matter who you are or what you’ve done. He wants you to experience the profound depth of His care.

Therefore, tell God that you are willing to trust Him for salvation. You can tell Him in your own words or use this simple prayer:

Lord Jesus, I ask You to forgive my sins and save me from eternal separation from God. By faith, I accept Your work and death on the cross as sufficient payment for my sins. Thank You for providing the way for me to know You and to have a relationship with my heavenly Father. Through faith in You, I have eternal life. Thank You also for hearing my prayers and loving me unconditionally. Please give me the strength, wisdom, and determination to walk in the center of Your will. In Jesus’ name, amen.

If you have just prayed this prayer, congratulations!

You have received Christ as your Savior and have made the best decision you will ever make—one that will change your life forever!

Thinking Our Way to Success

Have you ever asked yourself, What is true success? The biblical answer is this: to become the person God created each of us to be and accomplish the work He has set for our life. Scripture tells us that this kind of achievement starts with our thinking (Prov. 23:7). We know this is true because of how the mind works, influencing our attitudes and actions toward both the Lord and others. The godliness of our mind determines, to a large degree, the godliness of our life.

Colossians 1:21 tells us that prior to our salvation, we were alienated and hostile in mind toward the things of God. So, the old way of thinking won’t help us become the person God envisioned. That is why Scripture calls for spiritual renewal of our thoughts and attitudes (Eph. 4:23) and helps us understand what should and shouldn’t be in our mind (Eph. 4:31-32).

To set our mind on the things of God, we must consistently choose to have the Lord’s viewpoint and reject conformity with the ways of the world (Rom. 12:2). When we fix our attention on the Lord’s character and will, we’ll begin to understand His perspective.

Success in the kingdom of God starts with renewed, godly thinking. What will you focus your thoughts on today?

The Path to Success

God’s way is often contrary to the world’s. Our culture says, “Don’t let anyone push you around,” but Jesus teaches that it is the merciful, the meek, and the peacemakers who are successful in God’s kingdom (Matt. 5:5-9). The world encourages material prosperity and personal comfort, while Scripture says we are successful when we become more like Jesus and follow God’s plan.

As we learned yesterday, true success starts with our thinking. Picture your mind as a computer that regulates your attitudes and actions, directing your response in different situations. Since our decisions are made on the basis of values and priorities stored in the mind, our responsibility as Christ followers is to feed it a steady diet of God’s Word. Only scriptural truth can counter the continuous stream of ungodly or useless data that daily barrages our thinking. The Bible is the standard by which we screen the various ideas and attitudes that come our way (Phil. 4:8).

When we meditate on Scripture and value God’s standards in our mind, our words and actions will follow suit. Let’s opt out of the world’s love of power and material success—and instead become the people God planned for us to be. Then we can accomplish His purposes for us. Now, that is real success!

God’s Control and Our Prayers

Have you ever wondered why we pray if God already knows everything? What do our prayers accomplish?

First, communicating with God connects His Spirit and ours. A relationship can’t survive if the two parties don’t speak with each other.

Second, God communicates His will to His children through prayer. If we’re seeking to please Him, then we will pray with an open heart and mind. In turn, the Lord impresses upon us the desire to ask Him for those things He wants to bring into our life.

Third, communing with God gives us the opportunity to participate in His kingdom on earth. As we learn to trust Him for answers, He gives us greater tasks in prayer. The Lord will burden our heart to pray for the salvation of a friend, people suffering from a natural disaster, or the state of our nation. When we see an answer, whether it’s big or small, we will know He blessed us by including us in the process.

God calls on His children to pray, because He wants us involved in His work. What a privilege for us to freely go before our Father and know that He is interested in what we have to say. In fact, He is pleased when we ask Him to meet our needs or the needs of someone else. And if we are praying according to His will, He answers every time.

Responding to Tough Times

Tough times have a way of revealing our true nature. If two people were to face the same dilemma, one may grow closer to God and bear fruit while the other becomes anxious and doubts God’s faithfulness. How we respond to trials makes all the difference.

Like it or not, hardship is part of life. Becoming a Christian doesn’t change that fact (John 16:33). What shifts is our understanding of God’s sovereignty—nothing touches our life unless He permits it. Consider David, for example: God allowed a murderous king to pursue him for years (1 Samuel 23:15; 1 Samuel 23:25), but David responded to adversity with faith and called God his stronghold and refuge (Psalm 59:16).

If we let them, challenges can grow our faith, change our perspective, or deepen our compassion. But no matter what, the Lord is available to help us in our affliction (Psalm 46:1). Either we can turn toward Him for comfort, guidance, and support, or we can get angry and resentful that we’re not being rescued from our valley.

When affliction strips away every crutch, one has only the Lord to depend upon. Though some people are destroyed by that kind of situation, others are built into undaunted believers.

God Is Able

Jesus knew what it was like to live with limited resources, to have others question His actions (Mark 3:21), and to be rejected by those He sought to serve (John 6:66). Yet in spite of such opposition, He didn’t let circumstances affect His trust in the Father.

We’re called to follow Jesus’ example by believing that God is able to do what He’s promised. For instance, Hebrews 7:25 assures salvation for whoever requests forgiveness in the name of Jesus—His death on the cross satisfied the demands of divine justice for all our sins. God will pardon everybody who has genuine faith in His Son and will make each one a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). No matter what trouble someone may have caused, the Lord invites that person to draw near in faith and receive the gift of everlasting life.

God also promises to establish in truth everyone who trusts in Him (Rom. 16:25). Through His Spirit and the Word, we start to see things as our Father does, which helps us understand what pleases Him.

By believing God keeps His promises, we grow stronger in our faith and gain peace. Hardships that would once have thrown us off course lose their power. Hope replaces discouragement, and trust overcomes doubt. Next time trouble comes, focus on God’s promises and ability to care for you.

The Son Makes You Free

We all love the idea of being free to make our own choices about what to do and where to go, but Christ offers a much greater liberty than this. It’s spiritual freedom from the power of Satan and the condemnation of sin. Jesus said the only way to be set free is to know the truth and become His disciple by believing in Him and continuing in His Word. 

Are you standing firm in Christ’s freedom, or have you let sinful thought patterns, emotions, attitudes, and habits enslave you once again? Although believers have been granted freedom from the dominion of sin, we must fight to overcome our unrighteous impulses. This is done by taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ and putting to death fleshly desires and passions.

The good news is that we are not in this fight alone. When Christ set us free, His omnipotent Holy Spirit came to indwell and empower us. We also have God’s precious Word to guide and protect us. By His grace, we have everything we need to keep ourselves beyond sin’s control (Phil. 4:19). If you haven’t yet experienced what it is to be “free indeed” (John 8:36), put your trust in Jesus, the greatest liberator.

Freedom’s Responsibility

Our rights are among the most difficult things for us to relinquish, and that’s because letting go of them often feels unjust. After all, they are by definition a claim that we are morally or legally entitled to have something or to act in a certain way. Yet in order to serve Christ more effectively, the apostle Paul chose not to insist on certain rights and privileges.

Godly freedom carries responsibility and therefore shouldn’t be a selfish means of making others treat us as we desire. As 1 Peter 2:16 says, our freedom is not to be a covering for evil, but we’re to “use it as bondslaves of God.” Jesus set us free from the power of sin so we could obey the Lord, and part of obedience is serving one another unselfishly. God also wants His followers to share the good news of salvation and forgiveness of sins through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

If we believe that God has liberated us only for ourselves, then we have missed the point and are abusing our freedom. Paul likened the Christian life to competition at Olympic-style games. In the world’s system, a person wins by demanding his or her rights. But in God’s race, we’re victorious when we discipline ourselves to obey Him and fulfill His purpose.

Defeating Discouragement

No matter what our position in life may be, we all at times encounter disappointment—and that can quickly lead to discouragement. Disappointment is simply an emotional response to a failed expectation or hope, whether because plans went awry or someone didn’t measure up.  But discouragement is a state of mind in which we become faint-hearted and lose confidence in God, ourselves, or others.

When Nehemiah arrived in Jerusalem, its inhabitants were discouraged—the city wall had been destroyed, leaving them vulnerable to their enemies, and there were significant hindrances to rebuilding. But he encouraged them to start, explaining that the Lord had shown him favor by moving the Persian king’s heart to approve the project. Nehemiah’s confidence in God replaced the people’s despair and lethargy with the hope of success and motivation to work diligently.

We have a choice: Either settle into disappointment and accept our discouragement or—like Nehemiah—focus on the Lord, who is greater than any problem facing us. Although obstacles and disappointments may remain, God’s Word shifts our hope to His promises, good purposes, proven faithfulness, and sufficiency (Rom. 15:4). With His strength, we can persevere.

God’s Perspective of Our Work

Workplace conversations often revolve around achievements, recognition and advancement—as well as the energy people put into reaching these goals. Although the culture values a spirit of competition and the drive it takes to win accolades, these are not the qualities by which the Lord evaluates our work.

God calls His children to a different way of thinking and working—one that marks us as belonging to Him. It is called servanthood, and it is the Lord Jesus Christ whom we serve. However, we do so by selflessly serving others, whether they appreciate us or not.

Christ Himself is our model. He left the glories of heaven, took on human flesh, and humbled Himself to become an obedient bond-servant to His heavenly Father, even to the point of dying on the cross. As those who belong to Him, we are to imitate His humble obedience to the Father (Phil. 2:3-8).

Whatever job we may have, we should remember that we’re accountable to the Father for our attitude and diligence. He is pleased when our focus is to “work heartily, as for the Lord” (Col. 3:23) and to benefit others. With that servant-like approach, we’ll place less importance on ourselves and more on the people around us, who are likely to sense a reflection of Christ in our actions.

God’s Purpose

What is the purpose of life? Throughout human history, people have been trying to answer that question. Books have been written on the subject, and philosophers have postulated many answers. But for Christians, God’s purpose is concisely outlined in today’s passage.

Believers are called according to His purpose and are foreknown by Him. God’s foreknowledge is much more than His ability to see future events in advance. It also includes bringing to pass what He has chosen to do for those He has called. He has predestined them to be conformed to the image of His Son (Rom. 8:29). This will be fully accomplished in the resurrection, but until then, God is progressively transforming His children right now. These are the ones He calls, justifies (declares righteous), and ultimately glorifies.

If you are a Christian, this is God’s purpose for you. That means everything He allows into your life is designed to shape you into a glorious reflection of Christ. Although you cannot fully understand how God brings about salvation and how believers are responsible to respond in faith, there is great comfort in knowing that He who began this good work in you will be faithful to complete it (Phil. 1:6).

God Is in Control of Our Salvation

God’s sovereignty extends over all things. He is omniscient (all-knowing), so nothing is hidden from His sight. And since He is omnipotent (all-powerful), no plan of His can be thwarted. Everything in both the natural and spiritual realms—including our salvation—is under His complete control.

Since sin has darkened minds and hardened hearts, man is excluded from the life of God (Eph. 4:17-18). Therefore, we can take no credit for our salvation. Our rescue began in the heart and mind of God, who chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4). God is the one who opened our minds to understand the truth of the gospel, convicted us of our sin, and gave us the faith to believe in Jesus as Savior. From first to last, all of salvation is God’s gift to us.

Why did He reach out to save us? Several repeated phrases in today’s passage give the reason. It was “according to the kind intention of His will” and “to the praise of the glory of His grace” (Eph. 1:5-6). We are the beneficiaries of God’s kindness and salvation, by which the spotlight falls on His glorious grace—not on us.

The Destructive Power of Unforgiveness

What is your first response when someone hurts you? Maybe you immediately become angry and want to retaliate. Or perhaps your outward expression doesn’t change, but inside you begin quietly nursing bitterness. Although these reactions strike us as understandable and perfectly natural, they are not how God tells us to respond.

Unforgiveness is spiritually destructive because it is contrary to God’s will and affects our emotions, thoughts, prayers, and relationships. Scripture is clear that we are to forgive anyone who causes us harm, because we ourselves have been forgiven a much larger debt of sin by God. The grace He pours out on each of us should be our motivation to extend grace to others. If we have received His loving pardon, then we must do the same for others, even when it feels unfair.

Forgiveness involves a total change of attitude and action, whereby we give up resentment toward someone and relinquish a desire for revenge. In our own strength, this is impossible. But if, instead of rehearsing our hurts, we ask the Lord to change us and fill us with His Spirit, He will begin the process of transforming our heart.

Ignoring God’s Voice

Believe it or not, many people who attend church choose to ignore God’s truth because they don’t like hearing sermons that convict or demand a change. But we tend to be guilty of doing the same thing when we pick and choose what to read in the Bible.

When you open God’s Word, do you read only verses that encourage, comfort, or promise blessings? Are you reluctant to tackle the more difficult passages, which prick your conscience and call for obedience? Do you avoid sections that make you feel guilty about the way you are living?

If you find yourself reacting strongly to a passage of Scripture or a sermon, then you ought to take an honest look at yourself. God’s Word is meant to cut into the deepest recesses of our soul and spirit. But the hope is that we then run to Jesus, our High Priest, in confession and repentance in order to receive forgiveness and cleansing.

Christ sympathizes with our weaknesses and invites us to draw near to God to receive grace and help. The convicting passage of Scripture may cause momentary discomfort, but those who listen and take their burden to Jesus find sweet relief.

Interaction With a Holy God

One of the blessings of being a Christian is our intimacy with God the Father. But closeness with the Lord can also tempt us to treat Him too lightly by failing to recognize His holiness or treat Him with the adoration He deserves. Joshua’s response to God’s appearance has much to teach about proper reverential fear for the Lord.

  • He approached the Lord in order to speak with Him. God is holy, but through Jesus Christ, we can freely and confidently approach Him to receive help and grace.
  • He fell on his face in humility, submission, and dependence. This is the same attitude we need to have whenever we come to God in prayer or through His Word.
  • He asked what the Lord had to say to Him. As we read Scripture, we too should ask the Lord to speak to us and teach us His ways.
  • He worshipped God with immediate obedience. If we read the Word without obeying it, we demonstrate that we do not truly fear the Lord.

What we need in our relationship with God is a balance between familial intimacy and holy fear. Consider whether the way you approach Him might need some adjustment.

Trust and Obey

Joshua needed God’s guidance as he faced one of the most crucial moments of his life. He already knew the outcome of the battle against Jericho since the Lord had promised him success. The specific strategy God gave him, however, was so atypical that it must have made his jaw drop. But despite any concern they may have felt, Joshua and the entire army believed the Lord and followed the unusual plan to the letter.

Although we won’t face that exact situation, there will be times when obedience to God’s Word will be a challenge because it goes against our natural reasoning. Therefore, we hesitate, rationalize, or make excuses why we can’t possibly do what He says. For example, consider these commands:

  • Don’t be anxious about anything, but pray about everything (Phil. 4:6).
  • Forgive one another just as God in Christ forgave you (Eph. 4:32).
  • Fix your hope, not on the uncertainty of riches but on God (1 Timothy 6:17).
  • Consider it joy when you encounter trials (James 1:2).

Just as Joshua’s instructions didn’t seem reasonable, these directives don’t always make sense to us either, but God insists they’re for our good. It’s our job to trust His wisdom and obey.

Salvation Gifts

Gifts are an expression of love, yet sometimes we take them for granted. This is certainly true when it comes to salvation. Perhaps the reason is that we’ve forgotten how amazing this gift is and what it cost the Father and Son to give it.

As Christians, we know that salvation results in forgiveness of sins, reconciliation with a holy God, and adoption as His beloved children. But maybe we aren’t as familiar with its other benefits:

We become new creatures (2 Corinthians 5:17). We undergo a radical internal change. Our old self has been crucified with Christ, and we have a brand-new self, which is created in righteousness and holiness.

We are joined to the body of Christ (Rom. 12:5). Not only do we have union with the triune God, but we are also united with every other believer.

We receive an inheritance in heaven (1 Peter 1:4). Salvation transforms us from those destined for hell to those who are fellow heirs with Christ in His kingdom.

Salvation is an unfathomable treasure for which we will spend eternity praising, thanking, and worshipping God.

Spiritual Shortsightedness

Myopia, or nearsightedness, is a condition in which the eye cannot focus on distant objects. Today this physical defect is easily treatable with corrective lenses. But spiritual myopia is more dangerous because it has consequences throughout eternity.

To emphasize the importance of an eternal perspective, Jesus told a story about a rich man who couldn’t see beyond his present life. His enjoyment and security were wrapped up in the abundance of his wealth, possessions, and comforts. Although he may have been honored and respected by others for his great achievements, in God’s eyes he was a fool. That’s because he stored up treasure for himself but was bankrupt before the Lord.

In order to make deposits in heaven’s bank, following Christ must be more important than any worldly ambition or priority. His kingdom and righteousness should direct our plans, pursuits, and pleasures. Colossians 3:1-4 says that instead of having an earthly focus, it is better to set our minds on things above, where Christ is. If we do this, our affections and ambitions will follow, and we will become rich toward God.

The Need for a Sacrifice

Have you ever read about sacrifice in the Old Testament and wondered what it was for? The only payment for sin is death (Rom. 6:23), and the Lord graciously allowed animals to be offered as a substitute for human lives. So people regularly brought sacrifices to God as atonement. However, it was only a temporary solution and had to be repeated often.

In order for mankind to be eternally freed from the guilt of sin, God required that the once-for-all sacrifice had to be completely pure (Lev. 22:20). What’s more, it could not be an animal. After all, the guilt belonged to man; therefore, the world was in need of a perfect and sinless person to be offered.

What an impossible situation: Man was responsible to pay the price, but God alone was capable of sinlessness. The only possible solution was for Jesus Christ—who was wholly God and wholly man—to offer His life on our behalf. Unlike the blood of bulls and lambs, Christ’s blood was a fully sufficient one-time payment for all sin.

This is why we say that we’re saved by the blood of Christ. Jesus did what we could not—He set us free from our sins. Consider the immensity of the sacrifice He made on your behalf. Have you thanked Him lately?

Our Great High Priest

When you feel convicted about a particular sin, how do you react? Do you mourn with regret for days? Many Christians act as though God’s desire is for them to continually wallow in guilt, but this could not be further from the truth.

We saw yesterday that the Old Testament sacrifices had to be repeated over and over. Why? Because those animal offerings were only a temporary substitute for the perfect sacrifice God required. The New Testament tells us that the once-for-all, fully sufficient, substitutionary atonement has been accomplished—it took place when God’s own Son died on the cross in our place. As the hymn lyrics state, Jesus truly “paid it all.”

In the old system, a high priest took an animal into the temple and offered it as a sacrifice to God on behalf of the sinner. Christ, however, entered heaven itself and presented His life to the Father as the perfect atoning sacrifice (Heb. 9:13-14).

This means that the work of forgiveness is done. If you are in Christ, then His sacrifice has already paid for your sin. So, when the Holy Spirit brings conviction, address the sin and move on. Do not cling to burden of unforgiveness that Jesus has lifted from your shoulders.

The Burden of Inadequacy

Because we’re human, we all experience feelings of inadequacy from time to time. But the real issue facing us is not whether we are sufficient for a task, but how we will respond to such a challenge.

The Israelites felt inadequate as they stood on the edge of the Promised Land. The size and strength of the enemy contrasted sharply with their own weakness and inability, and they didn’t trust the Lord’s promise. So they refused to conquer the land and as a result were made to wander in the wilderness for 40 years. How tragic that they never saw the land God wanted to give them.

Like the children of Israel, we become fearful and expect to fail. As the obstacle grows in our mind, we run from the challenge and toward safety. However, turning away from a God-given task will lead us not to security but into bondage. Faith, on the other hand, will set us on the path our Father has planned for us.

When the Lord calls you to an assignment beyond your abilities, rely on what you know about Him and His promises. You will discover that our faithful God always empowers us for the work He wants us to accomplish.

God Alone Deserves Worship

For us, jealousy isn’t attractive, but for God, it’s a holy attribute. God is unhappy when we worship anyone besides Him. Only He deserves our praise.

When reading in the Old Testament, we may not understand why people would bow before idols—surely they didn’t think that these objects were living and powerful. But we make a similar mistake, placing too high a value on money, relationships, power, and the like. Though not bad in themselves, such things can become the focus of our worship. That’s why the Father is jealous for our heart.

There are two reasons God won’t tolerate our misplaced devotion. First, He deserves the glory. And second, there is nothing better for us than His love. Praising Him above all else is actually in our own best interest. Therefore, when our heart doesn’t belong solely to Christ, He will use discipline and reminders so we will prioritize Him.

This week, notice where you spend your time and money and what dominates your thoughts. Even if your pursuits seem good on the surface, pray about what might be an idol in your life. Confess any misplaced affection, and ask the Lord for help in making Him the object of your devotion.

Ministers of Comfort

During hard seasons or times of disaster—whether natural or man-made, national or local—we are called to show kindness. True compassion tries to understand people’s pain, but it also provides practical help. So, how we can express care and concern for others?

First, remember we have the wonderful privilege of prayer anytime, anywhere. As soon as word of a tragedy reaches you, lift up the victims, rescue workers, and others involved. Let the Holy Spirit guide you in petitioning God for protection, provision, comfort, awareness of His presence, and whatever else He deems fitting (Rom. 8:26).

Second, labor and donations of money, food, clothing, or household goods are usually high priority. So donations of time and resources are helpful (after wisely consulting trusted sources about what’s needed). You also can express compassion with words of comfort, a warm embrace, or a listening ear. Through this kind of love, the world will recognize the true Light—Jesus Christ, who brings good news, binds up the brokenhearted, and comforts all who mourn (Isa. 61:1-2).

We should notice the needs around us and reach out with Christ’s love. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal ways to pray for those around you. Your concern can have a profound impact.

God Acts on Our Behalf

We’re so used to a hurried world that we sometimes expect speed in our spiritual life, too. However, God “acts on behalf of those who wait for him” (Isa. 64:4 NIV). Let’s look at three reasons believers are called upon to wait.

God may be preparing us to receive His blessings. Perhaps we need new skills, maturity, or a particular spiritual insight before we’re ready for God’s plan. For example, David waited years to sit on his appointed throne. But when he did, he was stronger, wiser, and a battle-tested king.

Our Father is often teaching us to have confidence in Him. How would we learn faith if He immediately fulfilled our every request? In my own life, the Lord has often said two words: “Trust Me.” And He has never been late to meet my needs. No matter how we justify rushing ahead of God, doing so amounts to saying, “I don’t trust You.”

The Lord will sometimes withhold blessing to protect us. We may never find out why, but be assured that God carefully decides whether to place the object of our desire in our hands.

Waiting isn’t easy, but rushing ahead of the Lord can short-circuit His plan. When that happens, believers are left unsatisfied, and they often live with the consequences. Be patient while God works out details. His best is on the way.

Wait Upon the Lord

Patience is hard work! This is especially true when we are waiting on God, who keeps to His own timetable. But believers who trust Him to deliver can look forward to rich blessing.

A person’s willingness to be patient reveals the value of what he or she desires. No one goes wrong waiting for the Lord to send His best in His perfect timing. Of course, believers don’t receive everything they ask for. At times, God simply says no. Other times, He adjusts our desires to match His. In our humanness, we can’t possibly know all the details of a situation. So we ask for what we think we need, based on our limited information. A submissive heart accepts the Father’s gentle redirection. When the awaited object of desire comes, it may not look like what we originally requested, but it will be exactly what we need.

Another benefit is that waiting patiently on the Lord is an awesome witness. When He responds, others see the reality of God, His faithfulness, and the wisdom of our commitment. In addition, our own faith is strengthened. Fools rush to seize their prize, but wise believers know that blessing will come in God’s good time.

Trusting God’s Love for Us

When facing painful trials, we may be tempted to doubt God’s love for us—especially if we think peace and happiness are proof His love and trouble is not. In today’s passage, Paul helps us see God’s purpose for difficulties in the believer’s life. Tribulations are meant to produce perseverance, proven character, and hope because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts.

Instead of yielding to doubts, let the following truths about God’s trustworthy love give you hope. His love is ...

  • Perfect. He always does what is best for us in order to accomplish His goal of transforming us into the image of His Son.
  • Dependable. First John 4:8 tells us that love is an integral part of God’s nature. It would go against His character not to love His people, and He never contradicts His own being. 
  • Consistent. God works all events in His children’s lives—even the hardest circumstances—for their good. Scripture teaches us to regard hardships as the act of a good heavenly Father who loves us (Heb. 12:6).

 

If you’re ever in doubt, remember that God orchestrated the greatest demonstration of love possible—His Son’s death on the cross.