July 5-6, 2014
When I talk to patients or workshop attendees, they often express a desire for a trouble-free life. And even if they don’t feel they actually deserve it, they desire that problem-free life anyway. It’s true for all of us, isn’t it? The real question is, “What do we actually deserve?” I’m just trying to keep things real and be straight with you. The answer we all know deep down is: the wages of sin is death. If we really want to accept responsibility for our actions, death is what we deserve.
By choosing “self” over God, Adam and Eve reaped the consequences of separation from God, shame, pain in childbirth (and child-rearing) and difficulty working in the field. Our own sins bring consequences to others and ourselves. We are constantly paying for our sins. And, as we established, when we sin, we deserve death.
Everything we get in this life—breathing, walking, thinking, a home, family, heat, food, or even the ability to read or listen to this devotional—is more than we deserve. What we receive in life is given totally from God. It is His amazing grace-gift to us. When we think that His provision isn’t enough, it reveals an unbelievable level of immature entitlement, that we feel we actually deserve all the blessings we get. The icing on the cake is that we really believe we deserve more than we already have, despite how much wrong we have committed throughout life.
Instead of being happy about the 38 cancer-free years we enjoyed, we are bitter, believing we “deserve” better than cancer. Instead of being happy about the eight years we had with our son, we ruminate and believe we are entitled to more time with him when he dies. I know this sounds harsh, but we have to get over our level of entitlement, thinking we are the almighty Oz who knows and sees everything. Just because we had something yesterday, we feel entitled to have it again today (job, finances, college, friendship, health, family, etc). Jesus tells us clearly in John 16:33 that we will have trouble in this world and that we will find peace only in Him. No pain, no gain. When we are weak, He is strong, but we have to believe and apply these time-tested principles.
Today, let go of the illusion of the trouble-free life and begin turning your focus toward your Lord during the dark times, for “even in darkness, light dawns.” Show God you trust His prescription and provision for your life more than your own plan. Remember the grace God extends when you sin. He has a plan for you. Adversity is a necessary component to get your attention and grow you. The various workshops offered by Lighthouse Network will help you overcome the pain that often leads to your troubled and regrettable decisions. Whether you control your reaction to the times of darkness and pain or you let them control you, it’s your decision, so choose well.
Dear Father, please help me give up the belief that I deserve a problem-free life. I remain constantly hungry for solutions for all the difficulties in my life. I know now that this is false hope. You tell me through Your Word that in this world I will have trouble. Help me focus my energy on seeking You—the only perfect One—instead of seeking perfection in this fallen world. I know and believe that it is possible to enjoy You and glorify You in the midst of adverse situations and circumstances. In fact, You have taught me that Your light shines most brightly through believers who trust You while they are in the dark. I thank You, Lord, for the Christians you have placed in my life. The kind of trust they have in You is clearly supernatural, possible only by Your Spirit living within them. It’s so beautiful and encouraging to see their steadfast hearts, trusting in You, Lord. I pray this in the name of the One who was perfect and who deserved the trouble free-life, but who instead suffered for me, Jesus Christ. And all God’s children say AMEN!
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23
Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for the gracious and compassionate and righteous man. He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD. Psalm 112:4 and 7