12 Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. — 2 Timothy 3:12 NLT
We hear it almost every day. Why do bad things happen to good people? Why do good things happen to bad people? Truth is that good and bad things happen to good and bad people. Is God still in charge? Why does God allow these seemingly paradoxical things to happen? Of course, God is still in charge and yes He does allow bad things to happen in good people’s lives. We can look at Job and see that this is true. God knows where we are spiritually at all times. I believe that God allows tests in our lives so that we can know where we are spiritually. The one thing we can know for sure and hang onto is this: Whatever God allows in our lives is for our benefit. Our experiences are how we learn and grow. We can be assured that God will not allow any temptation that we can not overcome and He always provides a way of escape.
The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.–1 Corinthians 10:13 (NLT)
God sends rain on the just and the unjust. It is not our business to determine who gets what, when or why they get it or don’t get it . Earthly stuff is temporary, we are to work to lay up rewards in heaven. The rest is God’s business and He always takes care of His business.
12 The wicked plot against the godly; they snarl at them in defiance. 13 But the Lord just laughs, for he sees their day of judgment coming –Psalm 37:12,13 (NLT)
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
10 For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. 11 They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it. 12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” — 1 Peter 3:10-12 NIV
Somehow, somewhere, it seems that we have gotten the idea that it is not necessary for us to be careful of the words we speak and the tone of voice we use when we speak those words. Nothing could be further from the truth. When I become frustrated and/or angry, I hear myself speaking unkind words in a tone that I should not be using. I am always convicted of the words and the attitude that caused me to speak those careless words. Not always immediately, but the Holy Spirit does not leave me alone until I agree with Him and confess my sin. I am so grateful that God loves me enough to discipline me, no matter how long it takes. The passage of scripture quoted here in 1 Peter (oringinally from Psalm 34:12-16) reminds me that as a Christian, I should not be guilty of speaking words in that tone of voice. If I truly “love life” and want to “see good days”, I must “keep my tongue from evil and my lips from deceitful speech”. I must “seek peace and pursue it”, then God’s eyes will be on me and He will hear my prayers. If I continue to rebel against God with unkind words and a bad attitude, I have no basis to expect Him to do anything for me. God seems to be teaching me a lesson that “bad things happen to good people” sometimes because He disciplines His children. The obverse of this is that He doesn’t discipline those that are not His children, but they will receive the full brunt of His wrath in the fullness of time. Our part, then, is to remain obedient and faithful and He will do His part. As the Psalmist puts it:
8 Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil. 9 For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land. 10 A little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look for them, they will not be found. 11 But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy peace and prosperity. — Psalm 37:8-11 NIV
This lesson was meant for me specifically. After some prayer and meditation, I felt that I should follow the advice given to us in James and ask for your prayers so that I can do better in the future.
16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. — James 5:16 NIV
20 (Now in what I am writing to you, I assure you before God that I am not lying.) 21 Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. 22 I was still unknown by sight to the churches of Judea which were in Christ; 23 but only, they kept hearing, “He who once persecuted us is now preaching the faith which he once tried to destroy.” 24 And they were glorifying God because of me.—Gal. 1:20-24 (NASB)
God is waiting to show you the Way.
Paul assures those to whom he is speaking then and us, with God as his witness, that what he is saying is true. He leaves Jerusalem and goes into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. He was very successful in his early ministry and the people rejoiced that God was being glorified because of the work of one who had been persecuting the Christians. Sometime after this, Barnabas found Paul and took him to Antioch to teach and convert the Greeks. Soon after this, Paul and Barnabas are sent out on their first missionary journey. We know that from this beginning, Paul became one of, if not the, greatest missionary in history.This is a great example to those who think that God won’t or can’t save them because they have been “too bad”. The blood of Jesus can make the vilest sinner clean. To those who think they have been “too bad” and also to those who think they have been “good enough”, we have to get the message out that everyone needs Jesus. He is the only way to heaven.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.—John 14:6 (NASB)
15 “Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves. 16 You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. 18 A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. 19 So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. 20 Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.–Matthew 7:15-20 (NLT)
God is waiting to show you the way.
We need to remember that everyone, regardless of their lifestyle, bears fruit. Wrong thoughts, motives and actions produce the bad fruits. Right thoughts, motives and actions produce fruits for the Kingdom. When people observe our lifestyle, what kind of fruit do they see? If we are to produce the kind of fruit that Jesus wants us to produce, we must get our sustenance from the True Vine. Stay connected to Jesus by daily prayer, Bible reading, meditation, and singing praises. Then, we can be sure that we will produce good fruit and our actions will draw people to Jesus Christ.