“In the beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth. The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters. Then God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. Then he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light ‘day’ and the darkness ‘night.’ And evening passed and morning came, marking the first day.” – Genesis 1:1-5
There is a story whose Author is like no author in all of creation! His Word with Him, from the beginning, painting a masterpiece that no human art could rival! No photograph can capture the majesty, no literature can convey the wonder, no music can echo the sound, no dance can be as graceful, no film can record the words of this Author in the fullness of the weight of their power! All of creation itself stands in wonder at the glory of the greatest Author!
Every story has a beginning, this one began like no other story since! With a sudden and violent flash Word became matter, and matter became present in the presence of the Word! Like a potter working patiently with clay He molded the Universe, galaxies, planets, and all that would be! As an orchestra heeds the direction of the conductor, the whole of creation cried out in song; a constant and eternal vibration that sustains all things, echoing His glory forever!
Much like every story after it, this story consists of five parts: Characters, Setting, Plot, Conflict, and Resolution! We have an understanding of these relation of these things in His Word because His Word is not lost to us! He gave it freely, living and walking among us in the person of Jesus Christ and the companionship of Holy Spirit, if we’re willing to seek Him out in it! This, however, is not about those things. This post, article, or whatever you would like to call it is about the Author Himself and His desires for the characters in the greatest story ever lived.
This post may step on your toes but I assure you that everything I write in this, I write so that you might gain understanding and be edified! I would never write anything to cause you to stumble! At least, I would never do so intentionally! I pray that you seek out these answers for yourself and fulfill His command to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,” because I can assure you of one thing, and that is that one day we will all stand before the Great Author and He will determine whether or not our story continues. Take this seriously! Seek your Father earnestly; with sincere and intense conviction!
This article is no work of literary art and it isn’t meant to be, but it is meant to edify and exhort you to turn away from carnal mindsets so that you might “set your mind on things above, and not on earthly things.” (COLOSSIANS 3:2)
Now that I have gotten beyond the introduction, let’s move on to point shall we.
I love that scripture in Colossians, specifically Colossians 3:1 in the New Living Translation (NLT), in which Paul says to the people in the church at Colossae “Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand.”
Set your mind on the realities of heaven.. Let that sink in for a moment.. Now ask yourself this question, “Is God more of a reality to me than the world? Is He more relevant?”
We live in an age that, despite what we may want to think, is not unlike any other age before it! What we are seeing now has been seen by the very men that our Father used to write the book that we read, and by His Son when He walked the earth! He still walks the earth through us, but that is a topic for another article perhaps!
True faith, righteousness, holiness, and the perfection that we are to passionately chase after have been traded in for the things of this world and they have become more real than the “realities of heaven.” Perversion outweighs purity in scale, anger is a common and “healthy” emotion, bitterness and revenge have been taken up in the place of forgiveness and mercy, and every good and perfect thing has been perverted! This is nothing new, because “what has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” (ECCLESIASTES 1:9)
That statement I just made, that “every good and perfect thing has been perverted,” finally brings me to the point of this article! Of all of the perversion that is in this world, perhaps the worst of them is the gross misunderstanding that we have of our Father! We even go so far as to think that He is the cause of some of those things, that is a grand blasphemy if that’s the aim!
A dear friend of mine, and brother in Christ, Pastor Zach Backues recently shared something to this effect in one of his sermons, titled FIRESIDE, in reference to blaming the devil for creating negative things, saying “The devil is not a being of creation. Nothing negative in this world is a creation of the devil. To say that something negative is a creation of the devil, is to give him power that he does not have. The devil perverts the good things of God.”
This is a truth that you would be wise to heed! Our Father is not the Author of any negative thing in our lives, “every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” He never changes! He has never sent us a bad and imperfect thing and, given that He does not change, He never will! That being said, the devil does not create negative things in our lives! My dear brother in Christ is right in saying that, the enemy has no power beyond what we give to him! (JAMES 1:17)
We have got to get out of this mindset that when something bad happens to us it must be God’s will, or that because something is negative that the enemy has created something in our lives to hurt us!
I saw a post on Facebook recently that said “God, why did You let so many bad things happen to me today?” This is just a small portion what was said but it revolved entirely around this concept, and God replied with “I let this bad thing happen because I knew this good thing would come from it,” of course those weren’t the exact words but in this post God said that several times about several different bad things..
Beloved, we have got to break out of that mindset! I’ll refer again to the scripture in JAMES 1:17 which clearly tells us that “every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change,” and to 1 CORINTHIANS 14:33 which tells us that God is “not the author of confusion but of peace!” When we accept Christ into our lives, we accept a new life, of which 2 CORINTHIANS 5:17 says “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”
How can we claim to be in Christ, the defining attribute of which is a new life, and still act as though the old life has any hold on us? Are we not born again out of carnal mindsets and into the mindset of Christ? Are we not urged to “not copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think,” and that since we have been raised with Christ, we should fix our eyes on the realities of heaven, where Christ is; to quote COLOSSIANS 3:1 again!
We have a Father that loves us, and what Father that loves His child would intentionally cause them harm to do them good? “But Josh.. we punish our children in many ways all the time so that it will benefit them by teaching them something..” I will just say that so that it doesn’t have to be said by anyone else, and I will counter it with this: What makes you think that punishment is bad? Correction is beneficial yes, but it is also good! “Don’t bother correcting mockers; they will only hate you. But correct the wise, and they will love you.” (PROVERBS 9:8)
We only mock what we despise! I would even say that when we treat God as though His correction is a bad or negative thing in our lives that we are mocking Him, but “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” God is not responsible for any negative thing in our lives, correction or otherwise! (GALATIANS 6:7)
Don’t be mistaken, I am not saying that bad things will not happen in our lives! Surely we will all encounter troubles, trials, pain, fear, confusion and strife of all kinds but we do not face these things alone and certainly not because of God! In fact, the entire point of the hero of this story, Jesus Christ, was to reconcile us to God and to give us peace! Remember, He is the “Author of peace!” Our Father’s desire is that we will experience His peace and His joy, and knowing that we should certainly fix our eyes (thoughts, desires, etc) on Christ Jesus; Who is the “Author and finisher of our faith, Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross!”
Even our Saviors death was not a bad thing!! THAT is a “heavenly reality,” to think that His suffering and death were a bad thing that God did in order to achieve a good thing is a carnal mindset! Yeshua HaMashiach counted it a joyful thing! After all, “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Do we really think that love is a bad thing?
Listen, beloved, bad things will happen in your life! Those things are never, not ever, brought upon us by God! He only works for our good, even in the bad things that we face! He tells us this, as Paul states to the Romans, “In all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”
That is, of course a huge key right there, when it comes to understanding this! “According to His purpose..” Pay attention, because this is where a biblical and righteous truth gets traded for a carnal mindset! We act as though when something bad happens it is God’s will, but He clearly defines what His desire is for us in His Word and I can assure you it is no bad or negative thing! In fact, of this He says “I know the plans I have for you.. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (JEREMIAH 29:11)
That is a verse that is thrown around like candy at a parade, and is then immediately forgotten when something doesn’t go the way that we expect or want it to go; trading in the understanding that He only desires good things for us, that His plans for us are only good, pointing the finger at Him saying “Why did you do that God?” or “I don’t understand God, why would You let that happen?”
When did carnal mindsets replace righteous mindsets in the children of God? That’s rhetorical, it’s always been that way. The problem is not the bad things that happen, or the negative things we face, they have always been present and will be until the coming of the Son on the clouds! The problem is the mindset! By now there should be at least a basic understanding that these things are a part of the world and not of God! Again I reference COLOSSIANS 3:1 “Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand.”
The reason I keep referencing that scripture isn’t because it’s my favorite, it is because it is pivotal to your spiritual development that you understand where your focus should be! Where your focus is determines how you will perceive and react to the world around you! To quote Pastor Zach Backues again, “the presence of God in our lives changes the way that we perceive our circumstances.” That is another solid truth that you would do well to chew on! Where you fix your mind is what will determine how you perceive things!
I’ll simply that by saying it this way, and quoting another article that I wrote not very long ago, you are what you think! If you are always thinking negatively, you will see things negatively! A doctor doesn’t study the skills necessary to be a carpenter, and vice versa, why then do the children of God think it beneficial to conform to worldly patterns and mindsets? It is not who we are!
I love J. Hampton Keathley III’s words on this matter in his article Background on Colossians, which says “Increasingly our generation wants to take religion out of the realm of rational discourse and relegate it to the area of personal preferences and opinions. If there are thirty-one flavors of ice cream, why can we not have similar variety in religions? The gods of the New Age Movement are always tolerant of sexual preferences, feminism, and hedonistic pleasures at almost any cost. Why shouldn’t we each choose a religion that is compatible with our private values? In order to have a meaningful faith, it must agree with our deeply held beliefs. What works for you might not work for me.
Thus, Colossians is a book that speaks to our cosmic age and to this New Age movement. But let us not miss the fact that this movement has its source in the occult (though hidden under new names) and in Eastern religions that go all the way back to the beginnings of history with the fall of man.
The New Age movement is not new; it is the most recent repeat of the second oldest religion, the spirituality of the serpent. Its impulse is foreign to none of us. The appeal is ancient indeed; its rudiments were seductively sold to our first parents in the garden. Human pride was tickled, and it jumped.”
How is this related to my article? Quite simply, trading righteous focus on heavenly realities for carnal mindsets is nothing more than valuing your own opinions over the truth of God! Like J. Hampton Keathley III said in the excerpt from his article (above), “Increasingly our generation wants to take religion out of the realm of rational discourse and relegate it to the area of personal preferences and opinions… Why shouldn’t we each choose a religion that is compatible with our private values?.. What works for you might not work for me.”
We hear these sorts of things all of the time! Be careful that you don’t fall into this kind of thinking, that “I believe differently than you,” or that “we all have a different interpretation of God’s Word.” Don’t be deceived, “For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all.” (EPHESIANS 4:4-6)
When we draw a line between ourselves and God, thinking that we have any value in us that is greater than the least in Him, we separate ourselves from the grace of our Father! He doesn’t do this! It isn’t Him that sends any bad or negative thing to us, does any bad or negative thing to us, or thinks any bad and negative thing of us! That is a carnal, selfish, and double-minded mindset; full of instability and weakness, and lacking in righteous judgment. When our own opinions become more valuable to us than the truth of God, there is no possibility of us seeing any good thing from Him because we are focused solely on ourselves and are bound to see only the negative things; then point the finger at God, as though He caused it! Guard your toes, this one is going to bite a bit.. God cannot be blamed for not giving you what you want, when you won’t even give Him what He is due because you’re too busy conforming to the patterns of this world and your own opinions.
If you need scriptural evidence to give that last statement credence, JAMES 1:6-8 has just that, saying “But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.“
God does not create pain, suffering, trials, confusion, or any bad situation, circumstance and thing in our lives! He is only always working for our good! That is not a thing that we earn or even deserve! He is good all of the time!
God, the greatest Author, writes this beautiful and majestic story— giving His Son as a sacrifice for the characters that continually betray His purpose and desire— and we blame Him for writing it the way that He has; as though He has had malicious intent in our particular chapter, however “He has given each one of us a special gift through the generosity of Christ,” and having reconciled us to Himself offered us up a better plot than we as characters deserve!
His love never fails, and His story will end in reconciliation! The victory is already won, the enemy has no power to create negative circumstances in our lives and God has no desire to! This story, about the Author, is a story of love in its truest form; Him!
I love the way that Paul spoke of the Father’s love for us to the Romans, stating that “nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow–not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below–indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” ((ROMANS 8:38-39) Negative things, bad things, painful things, and all sorts of unfavorable situations and circumstances will come at us in this life but in those things we are never separated from His love for us! If that is the case, and His love for me cannot be torn away in those things, why would I even dare to assume that He would cause them? My Father does not cause and negative thing my life, rather in those things He is near to me because He “is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all; He protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken.” (PSALM 34:18-20)
I am convinced by the stars resting in the infinite expanse of space and by the galaxies that are so beyond my reach, that for the love of God to rest with me is truly a gift of gifts! All of this and He chose me, an act of love which could never be earned, deserved, or warranted by any man; aside from the person of Christ Jesus! All of this beauty and majesty beyond comprehension and He, being The Greatest Author, chose to write my story! Who’s writing yours? I assure you that He took it out of our hands, and placed us firmly in the hands of His Son, so that this story will be completed according to His desire which is always good!
Beloved, I urge you to consider this! I have said it before and I will say it again and again if it will edify you! Your circumstances do not determine your faith, your faith determines your circumstances! Where your focus is, your heart and your mind will be! When we live in thankfulness to our Father for His great love, many blessings, and abundant grace we will not be bothered by the trivial and mundane trials of this life!
Instead of complaining about these things, and blaming God or allowing the enemy to have more power than he actually does by assuming that he has any ability to create negative things in our lives, we should put on the mindset of Jesus Christ and “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” (JAMES 1:2-3) There will always be negative things in this world, the enemy perverts God’s good things and His good desires, but in those things our Father is working all things together for our good and His glory!
I, myself, will seek the Lord before I seek myself because He is the Author and we get to know how this story ends! I’d rather spend eternity with the greatest Author, than to be so consumed with my own opinions and emotions that I write my own story!
I pray that this bless you, edify and exhort you in some way! I have to admit that it ended up being much longer than I intended, and actually ended up being written much differently than I had originally intended; then again His intent is best, far better than my own, and if this is the way it went then He knows who needs to see it as it is written! Bless you all, and thanks for sticking with it! Run that race!