Have you ever wondered if God is really on your side? Not just in a theoretical kind of way, but actually for you in this life– wanting you to succeed, wanting to bless you, wanting more for you…
Unfortunately, religion has made it pretty hard for a lot of us to see God for who He really is. I mean, there are some questionable areas, right? What if He gets disappointed? Or mad? What if His ideas about what is “good” or what makes us “grow” or is a “blessing” actually look like suffering, loss and hurt?
It’s hard to wholeheartedly love someone if you aren’t sure you can trust them. And it’s hard to wholeheartedly trust when a person is unpredictable or might harm us or those we love. There will always be a part of us that we hold back, to keep safe, to protect, just in case…
1 John 4:18 confirms this. In the Amplified translation, it says:
There is no fear in love [dread does not exist].
But perfect (complete, full-grown) love drives out fear,
because fear involves [the expectation of divine] punishment,
so the one who is afraid [of God’s judgment]
is not perfected in love [has not grown into a sufficient understanding of God’s love].
Notice fear in this verse is equated with dread– not respect, reverence or awe.
Much of what we’re taught about God actually breeds MISTRUST instead of FAITH. These teachings are a result of our looking at circumstances to explain God and His motives instead of His Word. But a good washing of our minds with the Word can turn all of that around.
John 10:10 quotes Jesus as saying,
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.
I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
If there are circumstances in your life that are anything other than abundant, this verse makes it pretty clear who those come from. Furthermore, Jeremiah 29:11 (this is one we all know!) says:
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord,
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.
There is no secret or hidden interpretation, no hidden meaning in a larger plan. Prosper means proper. Hope means hope. And a future really means a future, something to look forward to. And NO plans to harm you! Well, that’s some good news!
But What About A Little Tough Love?
Surely, there are times when tough love is needed, right? We’ve all heard phrases like “God breaks us down, so He can build us back up.” How else are we supposed to grow?
2 Timothy 3:16 says,
All scripture is given by inspiration of God,
and is profitable for doctrine,
for instruction in righteousness:
That the man of God may be perfect,
thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
2 Timothy is clear. God’s tough love, His correction, reproof and instruction and our resulting growth, refinement and perfection...come from His Word, not from the circumstances around us nor from sickness, disease or loss.
And since Psalm 18:30 states that God’s Word is perfect (or complete) just the way it is, we can be sure that He doesn’t need to add anything to it to achieve His plans for you.
If “going through it” really made us better, then some of us ought to be so refined at this point… But that’s not how it works, is it? Even our experiential knowledge tells us that’s not right. According to 2 Timothy 3:16, only through reading, knowing and exercising God’s Word are we perfected.
The First Steps…
The first step in knowing that God is not “out to get us” is to truly understand what happened at the cross. We all know John 3:16, but what about John 3:17?
For God did not send his Son into the world
to condemn the world,
but in order that the world might be saved through him.
And take a look at Galatians 3:13 in the Amplified.
Christ purchased our freedom
and redeemed us from the curse of the Law
and its condemnation by becoming a curse for us—
for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS [crucified] ON A TREE (cross)”—
Then read 1 John 2:2.
And He [that same Jesus] is the propitiation for our sins
[the atoning sacrifice that holds back the wrath of God
that would otherwise be directed at us because of our sinful nature—our worldliness, our lifestyle];
and not for ours alone,
but also for [the sins of all believers throughout] the whole world.
When God looks at His children, all He sees is Jesus’s sacrifice. There is no more punishment needed. No judgment that has to be made. We don’t live waiting for the other shoe to drop. Instead we rest in knowing that Jesus paid it all. Isaiah 53:1-12
So as God’s children, what can we expect?
Oh, the news is almost too good! With Jesus taking care of the curse, only blessings are left! Take a quick look at Deuteronomy 28:1-14 & Galatians 3:14 to see what that looks like!
Matthew 7:9-11 tells us
Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone?
Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent?
If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will your Father who is in heaven
give good things to those who ask him!
1 John 4:8 says that God is love. It’s WHO HE IS, His very nature. And we can be sure that His gifts will reflect His nature.
As a matter of fact, 2 Peter 3-4 says He has given us great & magnificent promises while John 10:10 makes it clear what kind of business the thief is in.
Knowing these things are the first steps in believing in who God really is- a loving father who has plans and dreams for us, who has provided for us good gifts, who sings over us with JOY.
It’s time to stop believing in an unpredictable God and start believing in who God really is- a loving father who has plans and dreams for us, who has provided for us good gifts, who sings over us with JOY.