"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good."
All Things Work Together for Our Growth in Grace
In our last issue we noted that Christians are called to grow in grace. And our growth in obedience comes through certain means. Just as the Lord uses food to cause us to grow physically, the Spirit of God uses certain things to cause us to grow in holiness.
The question then becomes, what things does the Lord utilize in this process?
Scripture tells us that the Spirit can use all kinds of things. As a matter of fact, you can say that everything is a means of grace, at least in some way. After all, Scripture says,
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Rom. 8:28)
What is our good if not our growth as a believer? The best possible thing that can ever happen to us is that we be delivered from sin and become more like Christ.
Thus, we can say that everything that happens to a believer in any given day is being used to bring us into greater spiritual maturity.
For instance, licking an ice cream cone or holding a new born baby can be considered a means of grace. It may sound odd at first. These are such maundane things. They may even seem very "unspiritual." But these blessings are granted to us so that we may experience greater joy, thankfulness, love, peace, etc.
A walk in the park or sitting back in your easy chair may seem like inconsequential acts, but we should realize that these ordinary, everyday blessings are part of how the Lord accomplishes Hs divine purpose for our lives.
We may also think of the trials that come our way too. Though difficulties may be grievous, they have a part to play in our sanctification.
A run in with your kids (or an exasperating parent) may not feel all that good. It may even occasion a great deal of frustration. Yet it should not be doubted that these are just a few of the "all things" that Romans 8 speaks of.
James 1 reiterates this in a more defined manner.
“Consider it all joy my brethren, when you meet trials of various kinds. For you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”
James is saying that every time you stub your toe, suffer the loss of a job, or become ill the Lord is at work. Those trials are the means He is using to make you more steadfast. It is His way of shaping your character and making you into the kind of person He wants you to be.
This is why you can consider it all joy no matter how bad it may seem. If you are a believer in Christ, there may be times of lament and sorrow, but, ultimately, there is no bad that can really happen to you. All things are being worked for the good for those who love God and called according to His purpose.
While it is wonderful to think that every single thing in our daily experience is being used by God to bring us into greater obedience, we should recognize that this is just the first tier. There is even more grace to be had.
In our next issue, we'll find that there are even greater, more effective means that God uses. Stay tuned to learn how you can grow faster and gain even more grace.
Great Lives in WWII
This Sunday night (July 11) Bob Ludwig will be starting a 3 week series entitled, "Great Lives." The talks will center on different people involved in World War II and the work of freeing the Jews. We'll gather at 6 and begin soon after with singing and prayer.
Worship with Hopewell
We invite you to join us this coming Lord's Day as we worship the one and only true God. Hopewell is a family integrated church located at 1995 Baney Road. Morning worship begins at 10:30 am.