We Christians easily recognize God’s control over events both good and bad. When good things happen we praise God for the blessings he has given us. When bad things happen we recognize that God must have good reasons and we await to see how God is working amidst the trials and tribulations. But it’s not often that we think about how God works in the hearts and minds of man. The invisible hand of God not only plans every event, but He also plans every thought and desire. In fact, all of redemptive history and the crowing achievement of Jesus Christ has a dependence on God’s incredible orchestration of the desires of a multitude of men. Our salvation is dependent on God’s ability to affect individual desires. An understanding of this may seem insignificant for the Christian life; however, with further inspection, there is great truths, comforts and encouragement to be understood. If you desire to know God more, an important part of God’s character is His sovereignty over all things, including desires.
He that prays only when he prays with others, would not pray at all, were it not that the eyes of others are upon him. He that will not pray where none but God see him, manifestly doth not pray at all out of respect for God, or regard to his all-seeing eye, and therefore doth in effect cast off prayer.
In my previous article I talked about the Bible’s call on every Christian to speak the word. That all sounds high and lofty, like something only super zealous, extremely disciplined people do. But how do we do this practically in every day life? Today I want to look at discouragement that can come from speaking about Scripture with friends and family or strangers, and how to overcome it. Or perhaps you are discouraged due to some great trial and tribulation. There is much more that can be said to apply directly to you (and I would like to write about that sometime), but these same ways of encouragement can be valuable for you too.
Sit in church on Sunday, hear the word of God preached; wake up in the morning, read the Word of God written; go to bible study, hear the Word of God taught. All of these things are a good part of the Christian’s life, but the Bible exemplifies that the Christian life also includes speaking the word of God to a watching world with boldness.
With every major disaster, a pastor somewhere in Christendom cites the reason as judgement from God. I believe God judges nations and peoples, yet I’ve always felt uncomfortable to hear a pastor boldly claim that a particular catastrophic event is the direct result of a particular sin. This is very presumptuous of a pastor to say. Albert Mohler writes, in an article, “Does God hate Haiti?”:
Do you avoid someone because of the way they make you feel. Feeling of anger and frustration dominate the atmosphere—at least in your mind—when you are around that person. Perhaps you feel the relationship is of absolute uselessness to both you and that person. The Bible tells us that this relationship is actually a huge benefit to you.
People easily express their dissatisfaction with the way the government handles education, or poverty. I’ve had many lunch room conversations where this sentiment is expressed with conviction and vigor. Yet, it is equally common that these same people do nothing about the situation. Charles Spurgeon, a famous preacher from the 19th century, once said it this way in one of his sermons.