THIS SERIES: WHEN IT'S GOOD TO CHANGE YOUR MIND
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life
GOD IS GOOD
One of the ways we need to change our minds is with regard to the goodness of God; there are many Christians for whom this can be a real battle ground. Sometimes we know this statement is true theologically, but our experience suggests something different; and because many have been taught to ascribe everything, including everything destructive, to God’s Will—because He is ‘in charge’—they have not only to deal with the devastation, but the feeling that God has done this to them.
If we want to know what the Father thinks about our circumstances, our griefs and sorrows, we need to look at Jesus:
The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being.
Jesus perfectly represented the Father in every way.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. ‘I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
Jesus saw loss, death and destruction as the ‘thief’s work, not His Father’s. In His thinking this didn’t in any way detract from His Father’s supreme authority in the earth, but Jesus saw our world as a fallen realm, inhabited by sinful man, under the influence of the Evil One. And He came to rescue it [John 12:31].
Jesus saw sickness, poverty, sin and brokenness as the work of the Evil One; and every healing and deliverance was His victory cry. His mission was to bring good news, healing, freedom, release, comfort, beauty and joy (Isaiah 61, Luke 4:18]—abundant life in fact; not once did He bring affliction because it was ‘good for people’.
The Gospels are the story of how He worked out this calling, with its ultimate victory on the Cross. The book of Acts recounts how the Spirit carried on this work, a narration which still continues today. Today, in whatever circumstance we face, the enforcement of this victory, in partnership with His loved-ones, is still His purpose.
Think about these scriptures:
...God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and …. He went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with Him.
The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.
[1 John 3:8]
And having disarmed the powers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of them,
triumphing over them by the cross.
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.
For the Lord is good and His love endures for ever;
His faithfulness continues through all generations.
CHASED DOWN BY GRACE
So what about when things go wrong, when prayers aren’t answered, when the Lord doesn’t appear to ‘show up’?
Many times, ‘I don’t know’, is the simple answer. Face-down, I can seek the Lord for understanding, but it is vital that I don’t let my experience be the foundation for my faith. God is good—all the time—and wants us to know this in our every day. However, when disaster strikes, this also needs to be our battle cry, as we run to Him not away. And whatever the reason, whatever our situation, He has promised to work it for our good, for nothing can separate us from His love [Romans 8:28, 37,38].
Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him.
[Psalm 34 8]
God’s goodness in this verse in Psalm 23 is coupled with the wonderful Hebrew word, ‘chesed’ which is variously translated, love, mercy, loving-kindness, and faithfulness; none of which really do it justice. Chesed has at its heart the idea of the covenant-love of God, and all of the steadfastness, persistence, undeserved favour and love of the Lord towards His people. Chesed is grace poured out on the basis of covenant; and if David was rejoicing in his understanding of the terms of the Old Covenant, how much more does it apply to us, whose New Covenant has been signed in the blood of Jesus [Hebrews 7:22, 8:6]!
The last thing to say about this beautiful scripture is that the word for ‘follow’ actually means ‘pursue’ or ‘chase’! Want to be chased down by the Lord’s goodness and covenant-love today?
It’s good to change our minds about the Lord’s goodness and love. And it’s also good to develop an expectation that we will see evidence of this in our everyday lives.
Let’s declare over ourselves:
Jesus' goodness to us was definitively expressed upon the Cross. Not only did He pay the price to redeem us from sin, but also to defeat the enemy in every respect. If you haven't done so already, take some time to explore what was purchased at such a price. The webpage below has a number of useful resources:
THIS WEEK’S GRACE RHYTHM
Begin to declare the above statements over yourself and your circumstances.
NEXT WEEK: 10. LIVING IN THE PRESENCE: PSALM 23 CONT.
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever [Psalm 23: 6].
What did David mean by ‘dwelling in the house of the Lord’?
GET IN TOUCH!
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