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Monday, April 11, 2011

What Do You Expect? - Part 2

Well, unfortunately, I didn't hear from anyone about your thoughts from yesterday's post....."What Do You Expect?" reference to positive thoughts versus negative thoughts, but, I had some other thoughts about this matter today. 

A month or so ago, I was traveling home from Oklahoma City.  As I scanned through radio stations, I came across a popular TV/radio preacher talking about "favor". I listened to what he had to say, though I don't typically believe that a lot of his teachings are biblical. He explained that many of the things he gets in life - the good things, special treatment, and such - are because of him being a Christian.  He talked about "favor" and how we, too, can have God's favor - if we are Christians and expect those things.  His basis was this scripture: "Jesus grew in wisdom, in statue and in favor with God and man." (Luke 2:52)

When I got home, I talked to my husband about the radio message.  Parts of it were great.  We should be positive thinkers (like I mentioned in my Part 1 post), we should expect God's blessings, we must believe that God can do great things, etc.  But, parts of that lesson aren't biblical.  The notion that God won't allow Christians to suffer or that God will give only good things to Christians.  This preacher didn't come right out and say those things, but he might as well have.  He basically said that because he is who he is he gets special treatment: good seats in airplanes, business deals that turn out right, traffic jams that suddenly un-jam.  But the whole time the emphasis is on himself - not God.  He believes that Christians who are living right will get preferential treatment.

So, what about persecution?  I wrote about that a few months ago.  If God doesn't allow Christians to suffer, then why did Paul end up in jail? Why was he beaten?  If God doesn't allow Christians to suffer, then why do Christians get cancer? If God only gives good things to Christians, then why would evil people ever be in powerful positions?  You see, that way of thinking doesn't make sense.

Maybe you took my "Part 1" post that the radio/TV preacher attitude.  I hope not!  I certainly didn't mean that way. But, just in case you did, hopefully this post will clear it up! (By the way, I let my husband read that post before it was posted and he didn't take it that way. He'll read this one before it's posted, too! I have him read a lot of them before posting them....just to get his thoughts or impressions.  I want his opinion and suggestions!)

So, what do you think?  Will God bless us for how we live?  Yes.  Absolutely.  We read of those blessings throughout the Bible.  He will bless those who love Him and who serve Him.  He will hear the prayers of those who are striving to do His will.

We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will.
John 9:31

But, He will also allow His children to experience trials, sorrow, and tragedies. We see those examples throughout the Bible, as well. 

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.
1 Peter 4:12-13

Maybe these "bad" times are to strengthen our faith, maybe they are serving to fulfill God's ultimate plan or to bring someone to Christ, or maybe He is just allowing things to happen naturally.  We may not always know.  But, the thing is - when the bad things happen or undesirable things come our way, our attitudes, our responses, our reactions as a Christian - will be different.  Well, they should be different.

Even in the bad times, a Christian can expect good things.  We can and should expect blessings from God.  In bad times, we expect God to be with us, as He has promised that He will.

Those who know your name trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.
Psalm 9:10

Expecting the best doesn't mean that we'll get preferential treatment at all times, as the radio preacher suggested.  Expecting the best means that we will have a positive attitude in all situations - even if things don't turn out the way we want them to. That is what living the faithful Christian life is all about.  That is what God wants us to learn as we walk with Him.  That is why we must have total faith in Him.  Our faith isn't in ourselves and what we do.  It's about what He has already done.


Teresa said...

I believe attitude has a lot to do with it. Like you said, expecting good things is ok, but when you expect it because of who or what you are, is that Christlike? Having a good attitude helps you through the tough and miserable times. It allows you to see the "light at the end of tunnel."

Lori said...

Very well put! Thank you, Teresa :)

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