Dealings of God
“God is love” (Jn 3:16; 1 Jn 4:8). This is His nature and the basis of how He operates, and works in our lives. Even if at the times it is painful, later it will produce a good result. Just like discipline, all His dealings will be to our advantage for each and everything works for our good if we love God and are committed to His purposes (Rom 8:28; Heb 12:11).
He has our best long-term interest at heart
character replaced with His righteous characteristics (Gal 5:19-24). Each facet of our life and personality will be addressed (attitudes, thoughts, actions, words), past and present. Our entire Christian walk until the day we die is one of coming into wholeness through measures that include repentance to God, confessing to and asking forgiveness from those we have wronged, and where possible restitution.
It is our responsibility to correctly respond through self-examination, being sensitive to the Holy Spirit and co-operating with God by obeying Him so Satan doesn't gain a foothold into our lives whereby he has extra influence over us (Eph 4:27). [Note: Jesus said, Satan "has no power over me" (Jn 14:30). Not only is Jesus more powerful but also there was no sin in His life that would give Satan a 'right' (Heb 4:15)]. This of necessity involves His working to bring about change in us so don’t ignore, try to justify or argue, instead welcome the opportunity to enter into a deeper life with Him. By co-operating and responding in obedience we will become “vessels of honour…made holy, useful to the Master” (2 Tim 2:20,21). We should welcome His goal to make us more like Christ and thus be more useful in His Kingdom (Rom 8:29). If we have sinned, His conviction will be heavy on us, until we own up and confess it to Him (Ps 32:3-5). “His commands are not burdensome” (1 Jn 5:3). However, they do run counter to our rebellious stubborn unChrist-like nature.
The three key instruments He uses in His dealings with us are: the Word, the Holy Spirit and the circumstances of life.
Don’t resist what He wants to do in you
that cannot be achieved in any less painful way. He is more interested in our lasting character than immediate comfort. God’s aim is to purify our lives by removing what is hindering or preventing real connection to Him besides pruning away the unproductive areas to encourage new beneficial growth so fruit can come in increasing measure (Jn 15:2,8,16). As we continue to walk in increasing holiness (Christ-likeness) and live by the Word there will be less major dealings, rather just fine-tuning.
The choice is ours, to both accept God’s viewpoint and co-operate with Him to bring about change or reject His opinion with rebellion and complaining. If we walk in His ways blessing will result, and there will be ongoing dealings, training and preparation for future ministry. However, if we rebel and disobey we put ourselves under a curse, experiencing His discipline and needless pain (Deut 28:1-58). The Bible's advice is to "walk in the Spirit" and not to extinguish or quench what the Holy Spirit is trying to do within but stand against whatever Satan is trying to do (Act 7:51; Gal 5:16,25; 1 Thes 5:19; Jas 4:7; 1 Pet 5:9).
His dealings are sorting out problems that hinder the flow of divine life through us, focusing on our wayward wills. “It is God who works in you to will and to act according to His purpose” (Phil 2:13). Don’t resent His refining methods or be envious of the path of others – our responsibility is to faithfully follow His calling for us without taking on a martyr mentality of feeling sorry for ourselves (Jn 21:21,22). Endeavour to maintain an attitude of praise even in the midst of the most trying circumstances (Ps 34:1; Act 16:23-25; 1 Thes 5:18).
When the Holy Spirit convicts don’t ignore Him or try to deflect your attention onto something else – this is disobedience. Rather be sensitive to and obey His promptings as evidenced by a thought in your conscience. Remember, whatever is from the Holy Spirit will be in agreement with the principles of Scripture and thus reflect His nature. Therefore, anything contrary to that is not from God, but from Satan so reject it and do not act on it.
to be turning to ashes, commit yourself and future to Him (Ps 37:5). Satan desires to stop what God has started in you coming to fruition (Phil 1:6). However, this will require our
He sees what we can become in Him
ongoing co-operation to walk with the Lord. Even though Paul wondered if he would survive the shipwrecks and physical violence he suffered he maintained his zeal to win the prize and take hold of that for which Christ took hold of him (2 Cor 1:8, 4:8-11, 11:23-29; Phil 3:7-14). He had an ‘I must have regardless of the cost’ attitude.
Hardship or God’s dealing with a non-Christian is designed to turn their heart to God; meanwhile for the Christian it is to refine our character so we are more useful to Him. This preparation growth comes through training and maturity so we are more effective in His Kingdom – which always involve death to the self-life. Jesus expressed it as, if we want to be His disciples we must deny our own agenda and wants, instead accept our cross, that brings about the death to our self and follow Him wherever He leads (Lk 9:23). We desire to be more spiritual but without the suffering, pain or sacrifice on our part yet the only route is via the cross. Be honest with God. “Pour out your hearts to Him” and He will comfort you (Ps 62:8).
Don't resist Him – co-operate
correctly. King David, in humility, and because he wanted to know the Lord’s hand on him in a greater way asked, “Search me, O God, and know my heart…see if there is any offensive way in me” (Ps 139:23,24). He understood that the carnal nature must reduce by being exposed and dealt with to result in an increase in godliness. John, the forerunner to Christ echoed this, “He must become greater [in me]; I must become less” (Jn 3:30). Christ gave His all for us – can we offer anything less? He has the right to say to us, “You are the clay, I am the potter, submit to me… don’t I have the right to do as I want with what is mine” (Isa 64:8; Jer 18:6; Mt 20:15).
See also: bargaining with God, broken/brokenness, conviction, conscience, co-operation, correction, cross, daily walk, death (to self), deeper life, discipline, hearing God's voice, obedience, pruning, refine, restitution/restore, self-examination, surrender, test/testing, wilderness wanderings.