Dealings of God

“God is love” (1 Jn 4:8). This is His nature and the basis of how He operates, even if at the time something 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 (Rom 8:28; Heb 12:11).

He loves us too much to leave us in the condition we were in when we became Christians but begins to address areas of our ungodly nature. Since we are His blood-bought possession He wants the old selfish, sinful character replaced with His (Gal 5:19-24). Each facet of our life and personality will be addressed (attitudes, thoughts, actions, words), past and present, so we will walk uprightly. In fact, 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 restitution.                         

This of necessity involves His working to change us. Its how He sees us – don’t ignore or argue. 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.

He tailor-makes the refining process according to the raw material available (us) and His specific end product (a new creation). We don’t know the tests or dealings in the future but we know who holds the future. The believer knows that all God’s dealings are those of a loving Father, who only permits that which for a time is grievous in order to accomplish results that cannot be achieved in any less

        Don’t resist what He                  wants to do in you

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 to encourage new growth so fruit can come in increasing measure (Jn 15:2,8,16). As we walk in increasing holiness or Christ-likeness and live by the Word there won’t be 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 not to estinguish or quench what the Holy Spirit is trying to do within but oppose whatever Satan is trying to do (Act 7:51; 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; 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.

There will be a cost involved to enter into what the Lord has for us. Even when all seems 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 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; for the Christian it is to refine the character so we are more useful to Him. The purpose of His dealings with us is growth, preparation and maturity – they always involve death to the self-life. We desire to be more spiritual but without the suffering, pain or sacrifice on our part this can’t come about. Be honest with God. “Pour out your hearts to Him” and He will comfort you (Ps 62:8).

If we will not serve God He will raise up others; His purposes will happen but we will forfeit the opportunity to be His instrument (Est 4:14; Phil 2:30). May we have the response of Mary, “I am the Lord’s servant; may it be to me as you have said” (Lk 1:38). It is essential to hear and respond 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: broken/brokenness, conviction, conscience, co-operation, correction, daily walk, death (to self), discipline, obedience, pruning, surrender, test/testing, wilderness wanderings.


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