Receive, Embrace, and Trust
By Anabel Gillham, Lifetime Guarantee (www.lifetime.org)
(28) And we know that God causes all things to work together
for good to those who love God,
to those who are called according to His purpose.
(29) For those whom He foreknew,
He also predestined to become
conformed to the image of His Son,
so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;
(30) and these whom He predestined, He also called;
and these whom He called, He also justified;
and these whom He justified, He also glorified.
Romans 8: 28-30 NAS
We know that God causes all things to work together for good. ...
Stop right there. This is a conditional promise. There is a prerequisite given before we can claim that statement. And what is that prerequisite? To those who love the Lord.
"That's a difficult prerequisite. Suppose I don't meet His standard for 'love?' How do I know what all He means by that statement? I'm a Believer. I don't perform perfectly as a follower of Christ, but of course, I love Him! Is there some way I can substantiate that love? I will proclaim my love for Him."
Can I justify that proclamation? How do I love Him? Why do I love Him? Do I love Him because He gives me things? Because He has paved the way to Heaven for me? Because this is expected behavior for me? Because it's great just to have Him there when I need Him?
He answers those questions: "If you love me you will keep My commandments."1 And what are those commandments that He has set forth as proof? Well, He summarized all of them for us when He said, "...Love God...and love others."2 And you say, "I can't do that! There are too many hurts in my life—there are too many unlovely, unlikable people in my world. There is no way that I can do that!"
Don't give up just yet. Read verse thirty again. He has equipped us to fulfill that prerequisite. He knows everything about us. He has known us before we were conceived.3 He predestined us, called us, justified us, and glorified us. And those adjectives are defining who we are as new creatures in Christ.4 We have His immaculate, unconditional love dwelling within us and He will love through us.5 He fulfills the prerequisite! This is the magic key: As we accept His indwelling Spirit6 it will be possible for us to love Him and to love others as He diligently works His master plan for all of us—to be conformed to His likeness.7
That's more good news. When our future looks bleak and we ask, "What is my purpose in life? Why am I here? I just want out! Am I any good to anybody? It all looks so hopeless." We are looking at our world system credentials, our world system status as a person, and for the encouragement that comes from the world. It isn't your responsibility to plan your future. That has been planned before your life began (remember He saw every day of your life before you were born). You are being conformed to His image. Every incident, every setback, every disappointment, every unexpected tragedy are to be used to further His purpose of conforming you to His likeness in your life and in my life.
But Lord, how can such unpleasant, hurtful things in my life be in Your plan?
Dear one, I didn't plan all of those things. You are living in the world and I have told you that you will have trials and tribulations in your world8—you are in the world as My ambassador.9 But, I can take those things and use them for My purpose. What Satan has planned to use to destroy you and the hope you are clutching so tightly, I will use to conform you to something beautiful—the likeness to me. Believe me, dear One. This world is only temporary. Wonderful things are to come!
There is one thing on which you must always stand firm:
"Lord, I cannot do this."
"I know that you cannot do it. I never meant for you to do it. I will do it all for you."
Repeat those seven words over and over again—emphasizing each word separately, i.e. "I will do it all for you (Your name)..." I will do it all for you ... I will do it all for you ... I will do it all for you...
So we can say with confidence: Everything that comes into my life will be used for good, because it will be used to conform me to His image.
Thank You, Jesus, for Your encouragement. Help me to remember Your words tonight when I turn out the light and those familiar thoughts from the evil one of despair and hopelessness and failure come to me.
1 John 15:14
2 Matthew 22: 36-40
3 Psalm 139:16
4 II Corinthians 5:17
5 Romans 5:5
6 Romans 8:9
7 Romans 8:29
8 John 16:33
9 II Corinthians 5:20