As I was working on one of my Bible studies today, I came across something that got me thinking. I’m not exactly sure if my thoughts on this matter will be popular or cause wide debate (or if anyone will even care about my opinion!). And as I type, I’m realizing that effectively relaying my point is likely going to be challenging, and some will, undoubtedly, misunderstand me – and probably take offense.
So, let me clear up some things from the start.
Good things happen to bad people.
Bad things happen to good people.
Those who follow Jesus, and obey God’s commands, are not immune from hardships.
Those who do not follow Jesus, and do not obey God’s commands, experience successes.
Hopefully that’s clear enough.
In reference to obeying God’s commands, this question was raised:
“How has this principle of stricter accountability benefitted you and people affected by your life?”
Here’s where I ruffle a few feathers, potentially. I believe that many times we create our own drama when we behave in ways that would not align with God’s ways.
From my own experiences, I know that when I choose to get revenge, or let my anger take over, or allow my tongue free reign to speak whatever foolishness it desires, those are the times when I experience strife, anxiousness, regret, more anger, or many other kinds of turmoil. If I allow myself to make poor life choices – the wrong friends, unhealthy relationships, lying, stealing, cheating, drugs, alcohol, etc., I cause myself even more grief. Bad choices lead to bad consequences sometimes. These things only complicate our lives to the point that one day we might wake up and find that our lives have spiraled out of control. Somehow, we have no idea how it happened.
How did I get here?
How did I let my children get taken away from me?
Why am I in this relationship?
How did I get myself fired from another job?
Sometimes things don’t go the way we hoped they would. Sometimes bad things happen. True.
But, if you find that every time you turn around something else in your life is falling apart, perhaps you need to take a close look at your own decisions. Are you living the life you need to be living? Are you surrounding yourself with people who will lift you up, or tear you down? Are you giving your all at work? Are you teaching your children to be responsible, functioning adults? Or are you continuing the cycle of disfunction?
God has given us guidelines for living our lives that are designed to help us live the best, most healthy, productive, drama-free lives possible. We will still have trials because that’s how He teaches us, but we won’t have needless strife if we follow His word. The key word here is ‘needless.’ We will assuredly endure hard times, that’s a promise given in scripture. But, I firmly believe that there are times when we unknowingly contribute to our own sufferings through the choices we make.
When we choose to live our lives outside of God’s guidelines, we complicate things for ourselves, and possibly for others. I don’t know about you, but I don’t desire a life of constant chaos. I’m pretty comfortable with my predictable, stable, sometimes a little boring, color-inside-the-lines life. I mess up all the time, and make decisions that I know must have God shaking his divine head in my direction. Let me confess to you that those are the times when I’m most unsettled. Stress, fear, doubt, regret and all kinds of other undesirable emotions fill my spirit when I make decisions based on my own feelings, rather than based on what God’s word tells me.
I’m learning to listen to God more. I’m learning to turn to Him first. I learning to give everything to Him, and let Him show me how to proceed. It’s a daily process. Thankfully, God’s patience is eternal. He will never tire of my stubbornness. He will never tell me He’s given me too many chances already. He’s always waiting to show me the way.