I received another set back at work yesterday. It’s a minor one, but enough to send me into another round of worry and self doubt. I’ve been like this a lot lately. I am constantly on my toes. Worrying. A set back at work, a failed communication with Kat, a yelling match at home with family. They all send me into my cave. Fretting. Worrying. Second guessing. Wondering if I’ve made the right choices on this journey. If I’ll ever have what it takes to finish what I’ve started.
And then it hits me. Yesterday, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I can’t explain it. I was just getting off the train going home… It’s as if God reached out from the heavens, took a hammer and whacked me on the head.
“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” – Romans 8:26-31
“For all things work together for good” and “If God is for us, who can be against us?”. SO WHY IS IT STILL SO HARD??? These are two phrases I hear very often quoted. Or misquoted I should say – often. Misused as a type of comfort or encouragement to people seeking blessing or some sort of reprieve from their real-time day to day situations. It’s kind of hard to resonate with these phrases if nothings going well and you keep living in worry still!!
Not wanting to get this wrong, again, when God whacked me yesterday, I went back to Romans 8 and read the whole chapter. In fact, I read the later parts of Chapter 7 too. Thing is, Paul spent quite a few verses talking about the “flesh and spirit” struggle. He says, he still struggles with this himself (Rom 7:21-23). Paul then spends the first half of chapter 8 setting apart who is of the flesh and who is of the spirit. He then goes into the direction of the people living for the flesh and the direction of people living for the spirit (Rom 8:12-13). He then moves on to set up the fact that even as we live in real-time now, there will be suffering (Rom 8:18) but we have a certain hope. This hope is not yet here, we must wait patiently (Rom 8:24-25).
This then launches me into the passage that God whacked me on the head with. It makes more sense now… This is how I understand it stringing together:
- I will always be struggling with my weak flesh for now.
- I am not promised a life free of suffering.
- But I have a certain hope to be forever in glory with the Father.
- For now, I do have the Holy Spirit to help me.
- He intercedes for me. In fact, with “groanings too deep for words”.
- Because I love God, He has my back.
- His meaning of “good” is not defined by my version of “good”.
- Because His good is divine. Cosmic. According to his purpose. I can never understand it.
- He predestined. He plans. He executes his plans. He glorifies.
- So it’s all about God. Nothing about me. But if God is for me, so mercifully and so full of grace, who can be against me?
So back to the title. How do I deny God everyday? By NOT putting my faith in this truth. By doubting Him. By saying to him, “God, what are you doing? Why are you doing this to me? Not again! I can’t take this. Am I doing the right thing? It’s all going pear shaped and I am afraid it’s all my fault. I don’t know what to do anymore. I’m afraid to make a decision because I fear my own decisions. I can’t trust myself.” By saying these things and thinking them, I’m taking away God’s power. I’m denying he has authority over me. I don’t believe he has power over his creation and second guessing his good plans. I’m essentially saying, “All things are not working Lord. What good? I can’t see it!” and “All things are against me. Are you for me Lord? Really?”.
Do you see how sinfully ridiculous that sounds? I know in my head he’s sovereign. This means he plans all things and all things happen exactly the way he plans it. I know in my head that he is working for his good. He has never stopped working since the fall. All through history and at the Cross, he has proven time and time again his faithfulness. Just ‘cos I can’t see past my disappointments and perceived problems in life, I throw the baby out with the bathwater and deny God’s plans for me by worrying all the time about my decisions and how situations will turn out.
This is what I needed to repent on and keep repenting on… Even if I don’t trust myself, because of my flesh, I can’t NOT trust God. I must recognise his sovereignty and the power of the Holy Spirit who is interceding for me. To cry out to him more and to have faith that he’ll deliver the goods. I must stop using my own strength, but to make decisions and do things right now completely and utterly depending on his power. Because he will do all things for my good. He is for me and no one or situation can be against me. I need to stop denying God everyday.