This post was written by Pete

GOD IS A GOOD GOD -Conquer Through Surrender

Excerpts from Chapter 4 God is a Good God from  Conquer Through Surrender

Isaiah 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.”

I have found that trusting God completely when moments seem so hard is very difficult to do.  There are so many days where God might seem like He’s a million miles away and holding on doesn’t seem at all possible.  Trusting Him becomes more and more difficult, especially when there’s a tug a war starting to happen within us. We are easily tempted to control our circumstance just so that it brings us a temporary understanding and comfort. We eagerly try waiting upon God, but then our patience is fiercely tested.  His delay in helping to make sense of our difficulty truly doesn’t make sense with our reasoning. We get anxious and overwhelmed. We can’t breathe and all we keep thinking about is our problem, which gets tossed around in our heads. Slowly our problems magnify while the rest of our world begins to fade away. We want our results from God quickly and wish not to suffer this agony for long term. Our minds viciously race, questioning if God is good and if He really does care about what we’re going through. Our hope in His goodness begins to diminish and our faith in our own success begins to strengthen.

The thing is, God is good!  We might even say we trust Him in spite of our circumstances, but do our actions show that we trust Him? When things are hard, God desires our posture to be still on our knees waiting before Him. The testing of our faith in hard times allows us to examine our lives and our hearts, in order to see who is really in control. If we see that God is a good God then we will simply rest in Him and surrender over our will. If when we examine our hearts we see that we are anxious and restless we then know we have an improper view of God. If we don’t fully see Him in the right light, that He truly is GOOD, then Satan will dull our senses of knowing how good He really is.

Garden of Eden

As a Pastor I get asked a lot of questions by both followers of Christ as well as non-believers. One of the top questions I get asked is “If God is a good God, then why does He allow bad things to happen to good people?” There are many really good books out there that cover this subject and it’s a really important question to answer. To conquer this life through surrender, we will need to fully understand that God is a good God. The reason why so many people do not put their full trust in Jesus is because they have believed the many lies that Satan uses to confuse people about who God is. I will attempt to show us that God is a good God and that He loves us, despite of us. Psalms 136:1 NASB “Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, for His loving-kindness is everlasting.” God has gotten a bad rap because people cannot understand His Holiness. They see Him as a mean God that kills people for not doing things the way He knows is best. They think He is always out to punish people that don’t follow His rules, which is a lie of Satan.

John 8:44 says “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

Satan will make us believe that God is against us and is always mad at us because we mess up. This is not true.  We need to erase this from our minds and replace it with God’s truth. There are many of us that have often times struggled in our Christian walk because we have believed some of these lies from Satan. We have been made to believe, without knowing it, that God is against us and not for us. This chapter will attempt to give us a brief overview of the bible in sharing with us why God is good and worthy of all our trust. I will attempt to help our minds be filled with God’s truth so that Satan’s lie never has a foothold in our lives again by making us believe God is not good.

To fully understand God’s goodness, we need to start from the very beginning, where God said that He created the heavens and the earth (Gen 1:1). Often we do not have the right view of God.  By starting from the very beginning, it will help us walk through the many things we already know and hopefully we will be able to see them in a different light. Or if we already see things from this perspective, this will be a good overview for us and God can be glorified. I am not a scientist, nor do I wish to come across as one.  I am a simple person that believes God created the heavens and the earth. There are many smarter people out there that can explain this subject in a much greater scientific way. I will only come from my simple mind.  Like all of us, I had to ask myself the question, did life happen by chance or did it happen by a creator? For me it’s an easy choice.  If there is a design, there must be a designer. If there is a creation, then there must be a creator.  I know that this is another lie that Satan has used to get many people to not believe in God. Trying to prove this to you one way or another is not my expertise. I believe God is a good God because when He created the heavens and the earth, He himself said it was very good. Gen 1:31 NKJV “Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good.” 

God made man to have fellowship with Him.  He gave them everything created, except for the tree of knowledge. Gen 2:17 NKJV “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” God did not create man to be a robot for him but to be a man that can think and make choices.  That is a good God. He also made a planet that was perfect in every way without flaws, a place where man can spend all eternity in fellowship with God. That is why man lived so long back in the Old Testament days.  Remember in Gen 5:27, it says Methuselah lived 969 years, Adam 930 years in Gen 5:4 and Noah 950 years etc. Remember that everything that God does is perfect and Holy. There is nothing God can do that is bad but only good and not just good but perfect. He made the earth perfect and it’s where He desired man to live with Him in perfect fellowship forever- that is until man’s sin changed that.

In Genesis 2:21-23 it says that God created for man, women and her name was to be called Eve, Adams helpmate. The foresight that God had to give me a help-mate is positive proof that God is a good God.  I don’t know where I would be without my wife. She completes me in so many ways. Now, together Adam and Eve were in fellowship with God in complete harmony with Him on this earth. Everything was going perfectly according to how God created all things until that day Satan deceived Eve. (Gen 3:6)  The question I ask myself at this time is why did God allow Satan to be in His perfect Garden with Adam and Eve? If He is a good God why would He not protect them against any deception from Satan? That’s a fair question which then leads me to my next question. Why wouldn’t God give us an option to either choose His goodness versus another way?  Would it really be true love if all we knew was good and nothing bad? Having a choice to make gives us freedom to act and do things we feel or think is best. Without choice, we could be forced to live in a way we think is not the best.  Being coerced is a great way to lead us to rebellion.

The thing is God is so good that even when He gives us a choice, He still attempts to share with us what is best. In Gen 3:3 God warned Adam.  In the same way, He will warn us that if we choose to go a certain way, death and destruction will occur. Because He is good, He lays everything out for us to choose.

God is a sovereign God and He does all that He pleases. (Psalm 115:3) Regardless of what we think about God, He can and will do what He deems is best for us. In Adam and Eve’s case He deemed it best for them to see that He is a good God that cared for them by allowing them a choice. However, we have come to find out that their choice was the wrong choice and God had to curse the ground for their sake.

Genesis 3:22 says NKJV “Then the LORD God said, Behold, the man has become like one of us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever.”

This very act of disobedience to God’s perfect will for man changed mankind into something God never intended for them. The very moment Adam chose to go against God’s perfect will changed the environment in which Adam could now live. God had to send Him out of the perfect garden into hardship and pain. God then had to take on a different role for Adam.  God now became Adams comfort and guide, but it’s not without the pain that sin will bring.

Theologian Charles Ellicott explained this best when he said “All those qualities which constitute man’s likeness to God—free-will, self-dependence, the exercise of reason and of choice—had been developed by the fall, and Adam was now a very different being from what he had been in the days of his simple innocence. Adam had exercised the power of marring God’s work, and if an unending physical life were added to the gift of freewill now in revolt against God, his condition and that of mankind would become most miserable. Man is still to attain to immortality, but it must now be through struggle, sorrow, penitence, faith, and death. Hence a paradise is no fit home for him. The Divine mercy, therefore, commands Adam to quit it, in order that he may live under conditions better suited for his moral and spiritual good.” 

God is Holy (1 Peter 1:16), meaning He is perfect.  Those words cannot do justice in trying to describe what this means.  Isaiah 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.”  What we think we might know, He will always know more.  To think we know more is foolishness when it comes to God. Who are we to think we can tell Him anything. Psalm 99:5 “Exalt the LORD our God and worship at His footstool; Holy is He.”   We must remember that when Adam was in fellowship with God in the Garden before his fall, Adam fellowshipped with God in all of His Holiness. Paradise as Adam knew it was perfect.  It was comfortable, joyful, and he never had to worry or fear anything. He had delight in the Lord and never needed anything or wanted anything other than God’s presence. After sin entered, paradise was now gone and sin brought with it the hardships we all face today.

The world at the time of Adams fall changed. Sin now dominated man’s world. Sin now began to destroy everything and death entered the perfect world in which a good God created. This now causes man to search endlessly for the Paradise we once had and the way God intended it to be from the beginning. The relief we seek from our pain today, is our way of searching for The Garden, where we don’t have to worry or fear. Jesus so graciously eventually gets us back into the garden. But without Jesus, all we have is what this fallen world can offer us. We will discuss this in further detail later. But for now, in Jesus hope is restored and God’s goodness is revealed.

Without Jesus, man now acts and does what man wants to do based upon what man feels is best. Man now because of sin, lives in a world that man creates in order for man to understand his purpose. Man is attempting to live without God, man now hurts people and experiences pain himself. Man then seeks comfort from this pain.  This leads him to form many bad habits that blind him from seeing God, who is good. The world and man are now in a tail spin of destruction and hope for anything good becomes unlikely without the help of God. Satan will willingly offer to help man with anything that takes man’s eyes away from God. Because he chooses not to see God as good, man willfully goes after everything Satan offers him.  The result for man is a devastating life filled with many highs and lows where darkness has now overtaken the light.

The bible says that Satan is the god of this world and his whole purpose of existence is to deceive people from seeing that God is good.

2 Cor 4:4 NLT “Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe.” They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.”

The fall of Adam, and by extension to us, had made man believe that he is his own god, because he can now determine the difference between good and evil. (Gen 2:17) Man now determines what he deems is best and controls his life the way he thinks he should go. Man has always had a choice to trust God or to trust in himself. Unfortunately, today most of the world now trusts in themselves and their own beliefs.

So based upon this knowledge about sin and God being good, let’s go back to the question from the beginning. If God is a good God, why does He let bad things happen to good people? Based upon what we have talked about, did a good God allow sin to happen to a good person? No! Does man have a free will to choose what is right according to a good God or to sin according to Satan? Yes! So does a good God want sin to happen to a good person? Of course not! God hates sin. Psalm 97:10 says “Let those who love the Lord, hate evil.” Sin never brings goodness, but only destruction.  Anything the world offers us outside of Christ will never bring us goodness. Sin is always ugly and God is always good and gracious. Now that man willfully chose sin (not God) can good still come out of bad? Yes!!! God says in Romans 8:28 “All things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”

So, to wrap up this section; God is good and sin is bad. God gives man free choice to do good by trusting Him or to do bad by sinning and hurting others around us. In the following section we will see how Jesus is the greatest gift that a good God could have ever given mankind. We will explore some more challenging questions and see that God has always loved and pursued man.

Next week we will explore more of God being a good God.

Excerpts from Chapter 4 Conquer Through Surrender

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