There are five basic questions every Christian should ask everyday of God and/or of themselves. These questions are foundational to maintaining the key relationships in our lives.
- God, what are your plans for me today?
- God, what do I need to learn today?
- Who needs my love today?
- Who needs my forgiveness today?
- Of whom do I need to ask forgiveness?
The first question really is answered by the following four (or more). This is the starting point for the next four and all other questions that might arise. After all, isn’t God’s plan for your life completed one day at a time? There was a popular license plate/ bumper sticker sometime back that stated “Jesus is the Answer” in large letters and in smaller letters “What’s your question?” Though it sounds simplistic in nature, its intent is to point the reader towards the starting point in any situation: a relationship with God.
If we truly believe God is in charge of everything including our lives, then we know everything that happens today He will use for our good. Does it always feel good or comfortable? No. Is God caught off guard? No. Though we may never fully understand all that happens each day or even in our lives, faith knows no matter what: God is God. This is an attitude that says, “Okay God, here I am. What do you have for me today and please remind me through it all: You are in charge through the good, the bad, and the ugly.”
The second question stems from the first. Dr. Chuck Swindoll says God has two reasons for allowing anything to happen in our lives: to draw us closer to Him and/or to make us more like Him. Life is designed by God to be a learning experience. It is surprising how many people believe when they finish their formal education that there is nothing else for them to learn. Joyce Meyer pointed out how God’s school of life works. We are all tested and if you fail the test you get to keep taking it over until you pass. Then you graduate up. Even the Apostle Paul said of the Corinthians, who had not grown, they should be eating spiritual meat, yet many of them were still on milk. God expects us to learn and grow.
In being more like God, we need to learn to love. It is easy to love our own, but what about the acts of love that stretch us? We are called to love even when it is not comfortable or easy. Once a man and his wife were having marriage difficulties and it even looked like they might split. She had enough. He had enough. He went to God.
“God, I am tired of being hurt,” He said. “What am I to do here?”
“Repent and love your wife,” God said.
“God, how can I love someone who doesn’t love me? Do you know how hard that is?”
“Yes. I do it all the time,” God said.
It has been said we are the most like Jesus when we forgive. What motivates us to forgive? Love: the same thing that motivated God to send Jesus to die for us. Are you seeing how one question moves into the other? Jesus mentions forgiveness three times in the Scripture containing the Lord’s Prayer in the sixth chapter of Matthew. At the end of the prayer He states the Father will not forgive us if we do not forgive. Notice, He didn’t say the Father couldn’t forgive. He says the Father will not forgive. A Christian who is holding onto unforgiveness will not have the forgiveness of God. Do you feel like your relationship with Jesus and others is stifled? That your prayers don’t seem to be getting any higher than eye level? Are you forgiving others? You may have something going on where you believe you forgave an offender, but it is still there. It may even take several attempts to overcome, yet it is essential to your walk with God.
Who have you offended? Do you owe them an apology? You may think everything is just great, yet there is an issue that keeps coming back around. It may be just a small irritation, a small deal, but it just won’t go away. You really didn’t hurt their feelings did you? You were just joking or that’s just the way you are. If they have a problem with what you said or did, they need to tough up. Right? (Insert buzzer sound here!) It’s up to you to make sure everything is really ok with everyone around you. Yes, that includes your jerk ______ (Fill in the blank.) If you think about a situation in a negative light more than once then it needs your attention. If you have a splinter in your finger, you work to remove it or it will fester. If you have a splinter or a log in a relationship, you need to work to remove it or it too will fester.
So often folks will quote the Bible from Romans 8:28: “All things work for our good,” they say. When in reality the Scripture says God will “work all things for the good of those of us who love Him and are called according to His purpose.” He intends for us to be seeking His purpose. Further, verse 29, hardly every quoted, tells us what the purpose is: so that we are made into the likeness of His Son. That good which is spoken of is fulfilled in us being like Jesus the Son who sought God’s plans each day.
We all have a mission. It starts with love, forgiveness, and reconciliation. How we handle our mission is based on how we approach God and each new day He has given us. If we leave God out, are we really fulfilling the mission He has placed us here for? I firmly believe you are where you are in this time because God ordained you for “a time such as this.” This is your time. Fulfill your mission day by day.