Summary: Taking the Good with the Bad - Rom. 8:28
Taking the Good with the Bad - Romans 12:1-3
Introduction - Why do you suppose that many people live stressed out by anger, fear and worry? What are some of the reasons that more people seemed to suffer from burn out and fatigue than ever before. It is important to remember that "There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." (Rom. 8:1) When we are able to completely surrender our rights, problems and perspectives to the Lord then we can fully appropriate the fact that we are under no condemnation. Just like Charles Wesley’s song, "No condemnation now I dread. I am my Lord’s and He is mine." Let us look at a few guidelines to help us stay on the track of no condemnation thinking, feeling and doing.
1. Be willing to roll all of your cares, fears and feelings of anger on to the Lord. (I Pet. 5:7) When we cast our burdens on the Lord we find that He is our ever present help and stay. However, those who fail to give God His rightful place in their lives will suffer from self-destructive tendencies in trying to control their own outcomes. Pray at all times in the Spirit.
2. Your conscience may be particularly apt to be harsh and critical on yourself because of your conditioning. Ask the Lord to give you the grace to not internalize hurt since we can learn to be greater than any problem through Christ Jesus our Lord.
3. Learn to lovingly accept whatever God allows to come into your life since He is able to deliver you from any and all problems. Thank Him for the truth of Romans 8;28 that He is able to work all things together for good as long as you love Him and are called according to His purpose. God always helps us find a way when there seems to be no way, but He also allows us to get into difficult situations so He can show how powerfully sufficient His grace is in whatever trial, adversity or hardship we may face. (2 Cor. 12:9,10)
4. Confess your sins to God and to one another if you habitually struggle in seeing how all things (both the good and the bad) work together for good. Some of us need to pray and consciously look for ways that the Lord can utilize our weaknesses and confessions of our sins for His greater purposes. It is not what is on the outside of person that will defile them but what comes out of their hearts - hate, envy, jealousy, and evil desires. (James 4:1-4) When we are willing to confess our sins of commission, omission, wrong attitudes and faulty assumptions we will be cleansed in a way that the Spirit can work in new and unhindered ways.
5. Learn to forgive one another as God has forgiven you. Sure, you have been hurt and abused and been taken advantage of , but who hasn’t been? Jesus said, "If you do not forgive your brother, neither will I forgive you." (matt 6:15) Stop thinking of yourself as better than others and realize that the more loving people should be more forgiving.
6. When you do feel angry realize that it is telling you that something is wrong. Anger is a signal that we think we are in danger of losing something that matters to us. Maybe we need to be more like Joseph and surrender even the most important securities we have to the Lord’s care. Then we will be able to enjoy the peace that passes all human understanding. Joseph allowed God to carry out His broader plan through him regardless of the pain, anger and fear of uncertainty he must have felt by being sold into slavery in Egypt. He said to his brothers at the end of his 18 years in the captivity, "You meant it for evil, but God turned it for good for the saving of many lives." (Gen 50:20) The Lord is always able to turn tragedies into greater triumphs. Do not think that everything has to go your way in order to see God’s plans, processes and performances carried out in your life.
8. Let sadness be a pathway to greater joy in your life. Feelings of sadness signal hurts that need to be processed. Often sadness is a warning light that allows you to attend to some problem that needs fixing before the engine of your heart can operate at full capacity. Do not deny your feelings of sadness but give them to the Lord and He will sustain you. Otherwise you will be unable to love, laugh and feel the needs in the lives of other people and become insensitive. People who suppress their grief become depressed, prone to illness and resort to overeating or other substance abuses that indicate they are relying on an unhealthy crutch instead of praising God for His great love, joy and fulfillment. "David wrote, "You will make known to me the paths of life. In your presence is fullness of joy and in your right hand are pleasures for evermore." (Psa. 16:11)Sing of the mercies of the Lord forever.