The Greater Plan

mapAnd we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

I don’t know about you, but ever since I was a kid I hated getting in trouble. I always wanted to please my parents and make them proud of me. But as much as I tried to please my parents, I would have this one little continual problem that always seemed to get in the way. It’s called self and my own sin nature.

The bible says we are born with this sin nature passed on to us from Adam and Eve. By one man sin entered into the world and through one man, (Jesus Christ) we were sent free from the penalty of that sin (Romans 5:12). Praise God!

Occasionally the (old man) still gets the best of me. Often times in life we seek to please God but still find ourselves falling short. We are in a continual battle against our flesh, but praise God that with him “there is forgiveness of sins so that we can serve him (Psalm 130:4). Christ Jesus already won the victory for us on Calvary’s cross.

So does our sin disqualify us from God’s work? If course not, the bible is full of people (sinners just like you and me) who God continued to use for His purposes. The only person who ever walked the earth and lived a sinless life is Jesus.

A few weeks back when teaching a Kid’s Church class, I was reminded of the story of Jacob and Esau. They were twin brothers with very different appearances, personalities, likes and dislikes. Esau was a hunter. Jacob liked to hang around his tent (home). Their story, as recorded in the book of Genesis, tells of the younger brother Jacob deceiving his older brother Esau out of his blessing and birthright for a measly bowl of stew. We think, how stupid is that? His hunger overruled his brain and because of it, he lost part of his inheritance to his younger brother and the designed role of leader of the family. We do the same today when we let temporary satisfaction override the long-term consequences for our actions.

As the story continues, Jacob was then afraid for his life because his brother Esau threatened to kill him so he took off running. Isn’t that the typical reaction when we sin, we tend to run and start hiding. It was the same in the beginning, when Adam and Eve sinned, they hid from God. But God knew when he created them that they would sin and God had already devised a plan to save them from it.

God had a plan for Jacob’s life and He has a plan for each of our lives. God often has a way of using unexpected people to accomplish his purposes and plans. It is through Jacob’s sons that the twelve tribes of Israel were started. This was part of God’s promise to Abraham about making him a great nation and his descendants being as numerous as the stars. Did God shun Jacob because of his sin and deception? Absolutely not, God already knew this was going to happen and weaved it into his glorious plan. God continued to pursue  Jacob and he eventually turned his heart toward God and walked in surrendered obedience to Him.

This story is a promise of hope for all of us. If we are truly Christ’s child, God continues to work through our decisions (both good and bad) to bring about his purpose in our lives. To know that should bring huge relief to us because there is no way we are ever going to be good enough, brave enough, or strong enough on our own to be used for God’s purposes. When God calls us to do something, he also equips us for the task. It is solely by his pure unmerited grace that he allows us to be part of what he is doing here on the earth and that happens through submission and dependence upon Him.

Although no one likes to be disciplined by God, because of the obvious reason that it hurts. The bible says that God disciplines those he loves. When being chastised because of my wrong choices, I can rejoice that my father God loves me too much to leave me in my sin and where I’m at because my ways are always self-destructive. Psalm 119:71 puts it this way . . . It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.

Just as a baby learns to walk, all of us in our spiritual growth process have to do some falling down in the process. It’s all part of God’s plan. He wants us to come to the end of ourselves so that we are purely relying upon his grace in our lives. God wants what is BEST for me and if left on my own, my path it would be one of destruction. The bible says that Jesus is the Way, The Truth and The life (John 14:6). Doing thing Gods way bring about life and peace and further’s God’s purposes here on earth.

Jacob went on to be a great God-fearing man and would eventually not make a move without God’s instruction. We can be assured that in all the trials, storms and messiness of life, that God is teaching us valuable lessons in the process. Jacob’s sin caused him to be temporarily exiled from his family but in the process he learned lessons that would further his spiritual growth and his dependence on God. God made a new man out of Jacob’s surrendered life. He eventually changed his name from Jacob (meaning deceiver) to Israel (meaning he who prevails with God). Praise Be to God for the Victory we have In Jesus!

Thank you Lord Jesus for the many lessons that can be learned from Jacob’s life. Thank you Lord Jesus that you are good and that you continue to work all things for our good. Thank you for the victory won on Calvary and that because of it we can walk in freedom and newness of life through the blood of your son Jesus Christ. Thank you that you allow us to partner with you to do your work here on earth. Help us to daily walk by the spirit into all that you have for us! To you be the glory both now and forever. AMEN

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