The Apostle Paul said… “I have learned to be “content” in whatever state – circumstance, or situation I find myself in. (Philippians 4:11) The key phrase used here that I will share some things about in this post – is – “I have learned”….. We generally tend to emphasize other parts of that verse, but one day the Spirit of God really quickened that little 3 word phrase to me – and it has served as a goad to me to keep moving forward on many ocassions……
“I have learned” indicates a process entered into. It also indicates a willingness to apply yourself to going through that process – even as we can see that the Apostle Paul made such a decision (in Philippians 3:8-11) when he determined to pursue a thing that he considered to be paramount to every other thing in his life….. And in the verses that followed that – he expressed the fervency of his pursuit to press toward that mark – but immediately thereafter – he assured the readers of this passage that he had not yet “got there” – ie. he was not as mature as he would like to be or could be, but nevertheless – and in spite of some mistakes along the way – he was purposed to keep walking and moving forward in that direction – doing his best to mind the things/rules that he had learned along the way.
“I have learned” he tells us….. indicating that he gained some ground as he kept minding and putting into practice the things he was learning along the way. That is actually what the “famous” Romans 8:28 passage is talking about. Let’s look at that one for a moment….. Because we hear so much that “God is sovereign – and that settles the matter” – (which it does), but because we mostly fail to understand the details of, and the God placed boundaries on that sovereignty – we therefore swallow “hook, line, and sinker” the teaching that EVERYTHING that happens to us was sent by God….. and is therefore to be passively and humbly received….. But is that what it truly says and means?
Romans 8:28 – “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are called according to His purpose.”
One day as I was reading that verse, I heard God ask me the question: “Who is it that loves Me?”….. and before I even had time to ponder it, I heard Him tell me the answer – ie. He directed me to look at John 14:21 & 23…”He that has My commandments (My Word) and keepeth it – he is the one that loves Me.. .If you love Me, you will keep My words”… THIS IS THE ONE FOR WHOM ALL THINGS WORK TOGETHER FOR GOOD! (….and we know that all things work together for good to them that love God!!) BECAUSE he that loves Me – God says – will keep My word”……..
We’re not talking about a long list of “do’s and don’ts” (although that will have some part in this because it is God’s word) – but rather He is telling us that when He directs us in some way – do that!… If He tells you whether or not to “buy that house” for example – or – If He has quickened a Word to you about stopping exaggerating the truth – or maybe you felt really convicted as you read His Word that you needed to stop overeating – then begin as much as you know how to, to do that – and as you walk, continue to mind anything that you learn that applies to your walking according to “what or how” He has directed you….. BECAUSE… it all has a cumulative effect – like pieces of a puzzle – and that thing that He directed you to do will weave together with all the other things that He has been telling you to do – BECOMING A PART of the “all things work together for your good” chain of keeping His word (s) -which He has promised to bless!
You see we can’t just live any old way and expect that all of the things that come our way are working for our good – but God can, and wants to work with us to have a better outcome and a lot less ongoing grief in our life…. He wants to weave His good into every area of our lives – even those places where we think that we’ve missed it so badly that it can never work out right! But we can – like the Apostle Paul – realize how important and powerful God’s words are – and LEARN to keep them – ie. Do as James 1:25 admonishes us to do by being not just a forgetful hearer, but be a doer of God’s Word – realizing that the Word of God has power to change things – because God is “one with His Word(s) – and He works with His Word to perform it (to bring what He has promised to pass). It has taken some time for me to “get it”- but I have learned that following each thing as best I can that He directs me to do – or holding on to a promise He has given me – will indeed have its part in working all things together for my good!