Today I want to share one of the most important things God has ever done in my life. It seems people automatically believe everything that happens to them is from God, that He controls everything. The reason for this is that by definition, God is supreme and all-powerful, and they just assume He controls everything that happens in their lives.
Even unbelievers believe it. There are many Christians who promote this doctrine, and it has become ingrained in their lives. I believe what Scripture teaches is contrary to this, and it's very important that you learn this lesson. James 1:13‑17 says, "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God; for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. Do not err, my brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."
These verses make it very clear that God is the author of the good things. Jesus said in John 10:10, "The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." If it's good, it's God; if it's bad, it's the devil. That's very simple theology. The reason this is so critical is because James 4:7 says, "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." This says we have to submit, or yield control, to God and resist the devil. The word "resist" means to actively fight against.
When people believe everything that happens in life is totally from God—for example, sickness, failure in business, losing a job, rebellious children, or divorce—that puts them in the position of being passive. If they really believe God is the author of a situation and is using it to punish them or change them, they would be fighting against Him if they resist. Yet, James 4:7 says to resist the devil and he will flee from you. You have to submit yourself to God. This shows that certain things are of God and certain things are of the devil. There is a force of evil in this world, and not everything that happens in your life comes from God. If you don't understand that, you will end up submitting to the devil, and actually empowering Satan.
I want to bring out a passage in Romans because it is misused so often. I've actually been to funerals where people don't know anything about God, don't go to church, and know hardly any Scripture, but they know this one. Romans 8:28 says, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose." This has been interpreted to say that whatever happens in your life, God does it and works it together for good in some way. I actually was at a funeral for a young boy and girl who had been mixing alcohol and drugs, got into a car, drove too fast on a slick road, slid around a corner, hit a telephone pole, and were both killed. The preacher quoted this Scripture, "We know all things work together for good," and said God must have a purpose in doing this. God didn't kill those teenagers, and in a sense, you can't even say the devil did it. It was the teenagers. I'm sure the devil enticed them to rebel against the standards their parents and others had taught them, but ultimately it was their choice. They're the ones who did the dope and alcohol; they're the ones that hit the telephone pole. That was a natural thing, and God wasn't the source of it.
What does it mean when it says "we know that all things work together for good"? First of all, it didn't say we know all things come from God and work together for good. It says all things work together for good but puts qualifications on it: "to them that love God." This Scripture doesn't work for a person who doesn't love God. That is so obvious that it should go without saying, but it is amazing how people apply it toward instances like these young people who were doing drugs and alcohol and were in total rebellion against God and His principles. This says it only works together for good to those who love God, and to those that are the called according to his purpose.
In 1 John 3:8 it says, "For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil." God manifested Himself to destroy Satan's work. That's His purpose, and it will only work together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose; that is, those who are walking in this calling, are resisting the devil, and are out to destroy his works. Those who are resisting the devil and living for God can say that regardless of what the devil does in their lives, God can turn it around and use it for good.
We need to start discerning that God does not control everything in our lives. There is an enemy that comes to kill, steal, and destroy, but Jesus has come to give us life. We have to choose life and willfully recognize that God's not guilty of everything that comes into our lives.
If God was a physical human being who did the things He is accused of, such as putting cancer, deformities, depression, sorrow, and grief on people, I guarantee there isn't a government on earth that wouldn't arrest, imprison, or try to stop Him. Yet we think God, who is much more merciful than any person we've met or imagined in our lives, is going around striking people and doing this. There are some things that are demonic attacks and some that are natural, and not all disasters are God ordained. The insurance companies write in their policies "acts of God, such as earthquakes and pestilence." No, God is not the author of all these things.
- Read James 1:13."Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man." - James 1:13Does God cause men to be tempted by evil?Answer
- Read James 1:17."Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." - James 1:17Where do good gifts come from?Answer
- Read John 10:10."The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." - John 10:10Who is the thief?Answer
- Read John 10:10."The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." - John 10:10What are his purposes?Answer
- Read John 10:10."The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." - John 10:10What is the reason Jesus came?Answer
- Read James 4:7."Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." - James 4:7What is the result of submitting yourself to God and resisting the devil?Answer
- Read Romans 8:28."And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." - Romans 8:28Does Romans 8:28 say that all things are from God?Answer
- Read Acts 10:38."How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him." - Acts 10:38Is sickness from God?Answer
- Read 1 John 3:8b."For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil." - 1 John 3:8bWhat was the purpose that the Son of God was manifested?Answer