This Promise is not for Everybody

‘And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. ‘

Romans 8:28 NLT

God works in “everything”— not just isolated incidents— for our good. This does not mean that all that happens to us is good. Evil is prevalent in our fallen world, but God is able to turn every circumstance around for our long-range good. Note that God is not working to make us happy, but to fulfill his purpose. Note also that this promise is not for everybody. It can be claimed only by those who love God and are called by him, that is, those the Holy Spirit convinces and enables to receive Christ. Such people have a new perspective, a new mind-set. They trust in God, not in life’s treasures; their security is in heaven, not on earth. Their faith in God does not waver in pain and persecution because they know God is with them.

Romans 8:28 Study Notes
NLT Life Application Study Bible, Second Edition. Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

Living as Jesus Did

To live as Jesus did— serving others, giving up one’s rights, resisting pressures to conform to the world— always exacts a price. Nothing we suffer, however, can compare to the great price that Jesus paid to save us.

Romans 8:17 Study Notes
NLT Life Application Study Bible, Second Edition. Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

The Miracle of Knowing God

All that happened in Elijah’s life began with the same miracle that is available to us— he responded to the miracle of being able to know God.

It is interesting to think about the amazing miracles God accomplished through Elijah, but we would do well to focus on the relationship they shared. All that happened in Elijah’s life began with the same miracle that is available to us— he responded to the miracle of being able to know God.

For example, after God worked an overwhelming miracle through Elijah in defeating the prophets of Baal, Queen Jezebel retaliated by threatening Elijah’s life. And Elijah ran. He felt afraid, depressed, and abandoned. Despite God’s provision of food and shelter in the wilderness, Elijah wanted to die. So God presented Elijah with an “audiovisual display” and a message he needed to hear. Elijah witnessed a windstorm, an earthquake, and a fire. But the Lord was not in any of those powerful things. Instead, God displayed his presence in a gentle whisper.

Elijah, like us, struggled with his feelings even after this comforting message from God. So God confronted Elijah’s emotions and commanded action. He told Elijah what to do next and informed him that part of his loneliness was based on ignorance: Seven thousand others in Israel were still faithful to God.

Even today, God often speaks through the gentle and obvious rather than the spectacular and unusual. God has work for us to do even when we feel fear and failure. And God always has more resources and people than we know about. Although we might wish to do amazing miracles for God, we should instead focus on developing a relationship with him. The real miracle of Elijah’s life was his very personal relationship with God. And that miracle is available to us.

Publishers, Tyndale House. NLT Life Application Study Bible, Second Edition (Kindle Locations 119074-119085). Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

Real Success

significance isn’t found in things like winning a Super Bowl—or whatever is considered to be the pinnacle of your career or ambitions. No, significance is found in focusing on the priorities you know are important: doing as good a job as you can do, spending quality time with people you love, and investing yourself in ministry opportunities and influencing others for good. In other words, real success is about doing what God has called you to do as well as you can.

When we figure that out, it sets us free from a lot of pressure. We don’t have to become a head coach, a CEO, a PhD, a billionaire, or a celebrity in order to be successful. There’s nothing wrong with being any of those things, but our significance doesn’t depend on them. In fact, we need to find our significance long before we ever step into one of those roles. We need to set our minds on discovering what God has put us here to do and then doing it as well and as faithfully as we can. When our hearts and our actions are true to our callings, God considers us successful. And in the end, His is the only scoreboard that counts.

Dungy, Tony; Whitaker, Nathan. The One Year Uncommon Life Daily Challenge (p. 30). Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.. Kindle Edition.