God's word, spiritual growth, suffering in joy, Theology, transformation by truth, trusting God

Does it really matter?

Yes. The answer is that it matters a lot…theology, that is. Before you roll your eyes or skip this entry, hang with me.
Everyday we experience pain, joy, fear and frustration. In our pain and frustration, we often ask why. What we believe about God shapes our response to the everyday events in our lives. These beliefs form our attitude and our philosophy. We make decisions and build or avoid relationships because of our assumptions about what God is about and who he is.
The Bible shares with us who God is from cover to cover, and the Holy Spirit is given to those in Christ to help them understand scripture.
Through the scriptures, we see that God is about himself and his glory…that he sent his precious son, Jesus, to be God man among us and to be our righteousness and to die a death because of punishment for our sin. He is the atoning sacrifice.
Through God’s word we see that the greatest gift is relationship with him. Through his word, we see our lives are to be conformed to him and that the Spirit does that. 1 Thessalonians 4:3 tells us that God’s will is our sanctification–basically, he makes us more like him throughout our lifetimes. God’s will is not the American dream. God’s will is not our fitting in financially or circumstantially or in status. God’s will is not our comfort in anything other than him and his promises (and his character and promises are FAR greater than anything we treasure here on earth).
I know all of this is my mind, but it is in the midst of a trial, however small or big, that I am reminded in my heart and in the application of it. Last week, I was overcome with sadness at some circumstances in my life that did not look like the others around me. Sadness is a reality of life, but our response to it and how we choose to think about life can lead us to sin or to trust and righteousness found in Christ. By God’s grace, I was reminded of the verse above. I looked back on the faithfulness of God specifically in the last 3 1/2 years of my life–the pain and the growth, the suffering and the fellowship. He has worked so faithfully to make me more like him and bring me joy in him–and he will continue to. I was reminded of reading in “Respectable Sins” about discontentment. I was reminded that my eyes need to be fixed on Christ and not another’s life. The others around me are being sanctified in different circumstances with the same God’s hand. The very truth of God’s word set my feet on a firm foundation. My emotions were still raw, but the truth settled me. The pain was still there, but truth was the anchor. Right thinking breeds right living. If the premise was that God was about my comfort, health or my keeping up with the Jones’, I would have reacted in a different way. I would ask why God is not faithful, but he graciously reminded me that the picture is a lot bigger than my perspective.
Our lives are about conformation to Christ…not our comfort or glory here. Our lives are about conformation to Christ…not our “happiness’ for a time here…but true joy in Him…sharing in him. Things, circumstances, states of being, relationships can so easily become our idols, and we trade the greatest treasure of Christ for them. Theology–the study of God, who he is, what he is about, grounds us in who he is in the realities of this life and beyond. I am grateful for God’s graciousness in teaching me his truths and bringing about perserverence and character. I want to bring him glory, but I so need him to refine me in order to do it!

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