A few weeks ago, I ordered a book titled "Found Faithful" by Elizabeth Skoglund. It's not my typical read but for a while I had sought to read a volume on the timeless stories of spiritual leaders that impacted the world in their generation and beyond. Being half-way done now, the theme is recurrent through and through. And it is this: The life of a true disciple of Jesus is along a path of great resistance and difficulty, but the one who stays close to Him will maintain an inner stability that comes only from intimacy.
This central theme is often overlooked today. Many christians- old and new in the faith carry close to our hearts a sense of entitlement. That prideful thought that the creator-God owes us good health, a gorgeous spouse, overflowing riches and an all-sweet pass through life. Don't get me wrong- these are good things that He delights in giving to His children! James 1:17 reiterates it- "Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights.."
But the point is this- more important than all those things; He desires to build sound character in us, through the inner work of His Holy Spirit within us. Many times the process of building us into who Jesus is will strip us of riches, perfect health and/or friendships. Christ while on earth mentioned this, "..in this world you WILL have trouble, but take heart for I have overcome the world"- John 6:33.
The entitlement that we often consistently feel to the good things of life is rooted in a lack of understanding of His love. Indeed, that love is vast beyond full comprehension no doubt! But a thorough digesting of His Word, coupled with an intimate relationship with Him will certainly displace that entitlement. Basking in that unearned, unchanging and perfect love that we so freely enjoy from God, births and nourishes a desire to love Him back!
And so to tie it all together, follow this thought pattern: When we develop the habit of basking in and reinforcing God's love(by studying the Bible + spending time alone with Him), there is a spontaneity in responding! And in loving Him(by obeying the commands we receive from the Word and Quiet time), Romans 8:28 becomes so comforting!-"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, and who are called according to His purpose" Please read this paragraph one more time, slowly.
So like the old mothers and fathers of faith that went before us, we can also live a life that is full indeed. One of major impact in every circle of influence we find ourselves, and that transcends our time here on earth. Such a life continually fights to deny self; and certainly we will not arrive there in a day- but it is worth the journey there! Let's travel together friends, toward that life that is overflowing with intimacy with God and consistency in integrity and faithfulness amidst all of life's unpredictable seasons.