I readily admit it is difficult to believe God is in control when we are in the midst of anxiety, heartache, or grief. I have struggled with this many times myself. Because of my schedule, most of my writing is done on an intermittent basis, a “few hours here and a few hours there.” Because of that, this particular chapter was written and rewritten over a period of six weeks or more. During that time I had to work through God’s sovereignty on two occasions myself. In each instance I realized I knew the truth regarding God’s sovereignty. What I had to do was to decide if I would trust Him, even when my heart ached.
I realized anew that, just as we must learn to obey God one choice at a time, we must also learn to trust God one circumstance at a time. Trusting God is not a matter of my feelings but of my will. I never feel like trusting God when adversity strikes, but I can choose to do so even when I don’t feel like it. That act of the will, though, must be based on belief, and belief must be based on truth. (Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts)
God is sovereign over people. He will move their hearts to cause them to do His will, or He will restrain them from doing anything contrary to His will. But it is His will, His agenda for our lives, that God will guard, protect, and advance. We must learn to live by His agenda if we are to trust Him. (Trusting God, 1988, p. 71)
If God is not sovereign in the decisions and actions of other people as they affect us, then there is a whole major area of our lives where we cannot trust God; where we are left, so to speak, to fend for ourselves. (Trusting God, 1988, p. 58)
God is completely sovereign. God is infinite in wisdom. God is perfect in love. God in His love always wills what is best for us. In His wisdom, He always knows what is best, and in His sovereignty, He has the power to bring it about.
Gentleness is an active trait, describing the manner in which we should treat others. Meekness is a passive trait, describing the proper Christian response when others mistreat us. (The Practice of Godliness, p. 181)
There are many elements that go into the total concept of fellowship, as it is described in the New Testament, but the sharing together in suffering is one of the most profitable. It probably unites our hearts together in Christ more than any other aspect of fellowship. (Trusting God, p. 189)
Faith is not only necessary to salvation, it is also necessary to live a life pleasing to God. Faith enables us to claim the promises of God – but it also enables us to obey the commands of God. Faith enables us to obey when obedience is costly or seems unreasonable to the natural mind. (The Pursuit of Holiness, p. 139-140)
Faith is the gift of God – not the result of the persuasion of the evangelist. (The Gospel for Real Life, p. 135)
We do not have the ability to enter the kingdom unless the Spirit of God gives us life through the new birth. We are born again, then, by a sovereign, monergistic (that is, the Spirit working alone) act of the Holy Spirit. Then, as a result of that new birth, we exercise the faith given to us, and enter the kingdom of God. (The Gospel for Real Life, p. 133)
Who has been your most influential teacher (excluding Jesus, Paul, and the Holy Spirit of course) in helping you to understand how to live the Christian life? This could be a Pastor, Teacher, Author, family or friend.
For instance: I think Jerry Bridges has probably helped me in this area more than others (but among many). He is the author of The Pursuit of Holiness. This book has had a tremendous impact on my Christian life.
So, please share with us that person who has most influenced your Christian life. I would really like to know and I’m sure others would too.
Contentment is one of the most distinguishing traits of the godly person, because a godly person has his heart focused on God rather than on possessions or position or power. (The Practice of Godliness, p. 85)
God is at work in all the circumstances of your life to bring out the good for you, even if you had never heard of Romans 8:28. His work is not dependent upon your faith. But the comfort and joy that statement is intended to give you is dependent upon your believing it, upon your trusting in Him who is at work, even though you cannot see the outcome of that work. (The Practice of Godliness, p. 116)
The Bible indicates that our thought lives ultimately determine our character. Solomon said, “For as he thinks within himself, so he is”. (The Pursuit of Holiness, p. 116)
Our first problem is that our attitude towards sin is more self-centered than God-centered. We are more concerned about our own “Victory” over sin than we are about the fact that our sin grieves the heart of God. We cannot tolerate failure in our struggle with sin chiefly because we are success oriented, not because we know it is offensive to God.
I realize anew that, just as we must learn to obey God one choice at a time, we must also learn to trust God one circumstance at a time. Trusting God is not a matter of my feelings but of my will. I never feel like trusting God when adversity strikes, but I can choose to do so even when I don’t feel like it. That act of the will, though, must be based on belief, and belief must be based on truth.
Our entire confidence in our acceptance before God is based solely upon the fact that Jesus was our legal representative in His sinless life and obedient death.
God did not wait for a change of heart on our part. He made the first move. Indeed, He did more than that. He did all was necessary to secure our reconciliation, including our change of heart. Even though He is the One offended by our sin, He is the One who makes amends to Himself through the death of Christ. (The Gospel for Real Life, p. 94)