“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.”
So I’ve got some REALLY REALLY SUPER AWESOME HUGE truths to share with you today! Wipe off the sleepy eyes and grab your cup of coffee, Gods got some Gold for you today that is going to knock your socks down off!!! That’s a promise on the sock knocking because I mine are nowhere to be seen!
Okay so two really big ideas here, this may get kind of wild so just hold on tight! This ride down in the gold mine will be well worth it! I’ve always heard verse 28 there, that says; “for those who love God all things work together for good.” It’s easy to quickly scan over that and come away with the idea that God works everything for our good. God works to make us happy all of the time, to make us a blessed people, to give us a good life in all areas. I’ve taken that away before but hold on!!! That’s why skimming over Gods Word can get us in trouble and gathering ideas that just sound good to us and make us feel good. Looking at the context of this verse along with the verse that truths that follow it, there is so much more here than what we see at a glance.
God works everything together for good, “for those who are called according to his purpose.” What is Gods purpose for us? Well, mentioned throughout Scripture God’s purpose for us is to save us but that’s not all. Finding salvation in Jesus is where the Christian life starts but that’s not all there is to it, that’s just the beginning. God’s purpose after salvation is for us to undergo the lifelong process of sanctification, to be broken down, molded by His hands and formed more and more into the image of His Son, Christ. Look at verse 29 that says; “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son.” Conformed to the image of His Son, to be more and more like Jesus as each day passes! That’s God’s purpose for us, to be made more and more into the image of Jesus.
You see on the surface, you could easily glance at these verses and think that 1) God works everything for my good, happiness, blessings, and all that jazz, and 2) God makes us more into the image of Jesus so we will live perfect, sinless lives just as Jesus lived. Both those ideas sound really nice but it’s not at all what God intends to tell us in these verses. Let’s start with the fact that God is forming is more and more into the image of Jesus. In this process of being conformed and transformed into the image of Christ, that process involves a lot or painful change, a lot of burning away of parts of us that have no place in this purpose and life we’ve been given with Christ. Think about it this way, Jesus is a super muscled up and ripped up dude with not an ounce of fat on him. We on the other hand are majorly overweight, flabby belly’s, just super unhealthy in appearance. To be transformed into being more in the image of Christ, what has to happen? It’s not just walking in the gym once or twice and BOOM! There it is! We look like Christ! Just like anyone who has went through the process of losing weight and gaining muscle, it takes sweat, pain, soreness, day after day going to the gym and putting in the work. Most of all it takes a whole lot of time! It’s not an overnight thing that just happens, it’s a process!
As we see that God works everything together for good, for the purpose He’s called us to which is to be conformed to image of His Son, Jesus. That process isn’t just getting saved and things just kind of work together. That process takes a lot of pain, a lot or sweating away of the old flabby fat we have carried with us all of our lives, whether that fat is sin, addictions, fleshly pleasures, whatever it is, there is things that have to be burned away for God to form us and mold us more into the image of Christ. That’s the first thing I noticed that when God is working everything for good, that doesn’t just mean that God is immensely blessing us and giving us nice fat and happy lives to live. God is allowing us to go through mess, failures, seasons that are extremely difficult because it’s in those times that the pain we feel is parts of us that we have held onto for so long being broken off as we are conformed more into the image of Christ. I have faced and still face a lot of things in my life that are tough, scary, and super painful and in my perspective of what “good” is, it’s hard to understand this truth. But that’s the problem, our worldly perspective of “good” is what makes us feel good, happy and comfortable. The truth is God’s meaning of good is so much bigger and better than we could ever understand but it’s a different path than we’d ever expect. It’s the path of pain, hurt, and tough situations where God is breaking us down, teaching us and working things together for good as our old flabby fat is being burned away and we are being formed more into the muscled up image of Christ.
And I got to thinking about it too, what does becoming more like Jesus look like? We see that Jesus was loving, kind, graceful, a servant, faithful, humble, and the list goes on. We see all these characteristics of Jesus and that’s what we strive for, to be more like Christ right? Well, what blew my mind when thinking about this is that it’s not just possessing those characteristics of Jesus that shows us that we’ve made it, we are more and more like Him. Look at the context in which Jesus displayed all of His awesome characteristics, in suffering. Jesus loved, served, and was joyful in the midst of extreme persecution, everywhere He went He was constantly being attacked by religious leaders, the devil, and so much more. Jesus displayed those characteristics in the context of suffering, which is exactly what God is showing us here. Following Christ and trusting that God is working everything for good as we are molded into the image of His Son, it’s the complete opposite of what we would think. God uses this same context that Jesus went through, the tough situations and seasons of pain and suffering to teach us and grow us more into the image of Christ. It’s in those moments in our journeys of following Christ that God is conforming and transforming us into the image of Christ the most! When we realize the context in which Jesus was who Jesus was, so forgiving, loving, joyful and kind, we see that God is calling us to see that the context we’re in, no matter what the situation or how tough it is. Although in our human perspective it looks absolutely horrible, God is working things together for GOOD!! God is changing us from the inside out and teaching us how to become more like Christ’s not just to be perfect or never mess up, God uses the nasty failures and tough times in our lives to mold us more into the image of Christ.
Seeing that Jesus was who He was in the context of struggles and suffering brings a whole new perspective to the things I face in my life today. No longer should we see what seems tough and painful in our lives as a bad thing because that means that God is doing an even bigger work for good, God is teaching us and growing us even more into the image of Jesus. What seems bad is actually what God is using for good. To think that Jesus acted and lived like He lived, loving, serving and being so graceful and humble while He was surrounded by attacks and turmoil, that’s what showed the world that Jesus was different and set apart from what we see as “normal.” God is doing an amazing work for good in your life right now even though that may seem impossible, trust Him, as we become more and more like Jesus as God burns away the fat in our lives, He is molding us to stand out as well, so the world will see people loving in situations where usually no love would be found. Forgiving and filled with grace in moments where that is the last thing that usually happens. Joyful in times of trial and suffering. That’s becoming more like Christ, that’s when people take notice that there is something much bigger going on in us than the status quo, that’s when others will see Jesus shine so brightly through you.