God has plans for us; they are for good and not for evil*. Are we willing to follow Him and receive what He has for us?
17 Those who are kind benefit themselves, but the cruel bring ruin on themselves.
19 Truly the righteous attain life, but whoever pursues evil finds death.
How do we reconcile God’s plans and our choices? Either God chooses everything, in which case, He chooses for me to make bad choices as well as good, or He hopes that we make good choices and works damage-control when we don’t.
OR, His plans for us are on a different plane. We tend to think in outcomes that are physical and within our lifetime; God thinks in terms of our character and eternity.
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. Romans 8:28-29
His HUGENESS is how He accomplishes Romans 8:28 even while performing 8:29 in us. In God’s foreknowledge, He knows our every decision (Psalm 139:16). Knowing that we would accept Jesus as our LORD, He predestined us to meet Christ at the appointed time in our lives. From that point–and even before–He uses the circumstances in our lives and our choices–both good and bad–to conform us to the image of His Son. Love is based upon choice; love that is required is not love at all, but duty. We love God because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). Our choice is based upon His choice (John 15:16). Nobody made Jesus lay down His life; He CHOSE to do it because of His great love for us! Follow these verses:
17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” John 10:17-18
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! 1 John 3:1
Understanding the relationship between love and choice should help us to “walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:15-16. Choosing to love God daily means sacrifice of worldly goals and pleasures; it means being obedient to His Word and to His Spirit in every decision. What is our reward? THE CHARACTER OF CHRIST. We learn to “swim in heaven’s waters.” When we swim in the ocean, we are out of place: We cannot breathe underwater, we don’t have fins or flippers, our eyes are not made to see underwater, we don’t have sonar, etc. We are designed to walk on land. But, in Christ, we are new creations; we begin to grow these qualities in our lives to the point where we will be not only proficient at swimming in heaven’s waters, we are AT HOME in heaven’s waters. Of course, we are speaking of standing in the presence of our Almighty God. We will no longer worry about thinking, saying, or doing the wrong thing; the right thought, word and deed will come naturally to us.
In the meantime, we struggle every day, but that struggle is what God uses to transform us. In the words of my pastor, “Well, here it is another day and I am still in this fleshly body. LORD, I’m gonna need Your help again!”
Abba, You know what is in our hearts. You know what we need. As we walk with You each day, may we become more aware of You, more in touch with You, and more like You. I give all I know of myself to all I know of You today. Tomorrow, I will give a little more based upon what I have learned of You today. In this way, I am a little more like Jesus each day. Work wonders in me, LORD. I NEED YOU. Amen.
*Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.