Truth or Consequences
Exploring God's Sovereignty and Free Will
This teaching on truth or consequences is just one lesson of our free eCourse for personal transformation, 'Matters of the Heart.' All 24 lessons will be helpful to the person seeking restoration and freedom.
All scripture citations are from the English Standard Version (ESV) unless otherwise noted.
Where Is God in this?
We saw in the previous lesson on The Spiritual Roots of Disease that there is hope for becoming free of many illnesses, even addictions and mental disorders, since they are rooted in negative emotions and false beliefs that we can learn to overcome. However, this knowledge could become a heavy burden to bear for it means recognizing things we thought were "just emotions" as sins.
Since we fall into these sinful emotional states so easily and so often, it begs the question: What is God the Father thinking and feeling about us? Is He angry? Is He losing patience? Is He withdrawing from us? Unless we can discover something about our Father God that will put our hearts to rest, this accurate view of sin could well become cause for even more stress! Thankfully, in God we have the perfect safety our hearts have been searching for all along!
The Thorny Question of Suffering
Our homeword journey into His Heart of love begins by taking a necessary "detour" into the thorny question of suffering. Issues of disease raise questions about suffering, such as: Why does a good, loving God allow evil and suffering to exist? This series takes the following positions:
1) God is a thoroughly good God - unconditionally loving, abounding in mercy and yet completely just.
2) All suffering exists because evil exists - God is NOT the source or cause of evil.
3) All evil exists because of Satan's sin - his prideful free will decision to go a separate way from God. He led other created beings into rebellion with him, forming an empire of evil.
4) All suffering is due to three things: our free will abused (our sinful choices of thought, word or deed), a real world setting (which involves natural consequences for all choices) and the sins of an invisible enemy against us.
There has to be balance and an allowance for mystery when attempting to understand the relationship between God's sovereignty and free will (our choices), as well as the painful issues of why a particular disease and suffering came about. Nevertheless the boundaries are clear: God is not the author of evil, Satan is.
In heaven there is a complete absence of sin and suffering, because in heaven everyone is perfectly surrendered to God. We give the enemy countless open doors to bring sin and its consequences into our world through our lack of surrender, our sinful choices. God allows us to say "No!" to Him and to His ways. He does this for the sake of preserving our free wills. God even works through the evils our free will allows to restore us to love and to our lost humanity. Fortunately for us, He has many ways of turning our "No's" back into "Yes's," but in the interval much suffering can happen.
We don't seem to be as committed to our freedom of will as God is. We want our will to be free but not the will of others - especially if they are about to hurt us with it. Or we may want our wills to be free but don't want the real world consequences that go along with it. God, on the other hand, has placed all of us in a real world in which even the demons have freedom of choice. To live with a free will in a real world under assault by an invisible enemy, we will have to learn to love God's ways or face the consequences.
An Unavoidable and Unalterable Fact
We have been given freedom of will and are therefore sovereigns over our own hearts. What we choose to believe in our mind and in our heart determines how we will react or respond to people and events. Every emotion we have is springing up from the core of what we deeply believe.
There is no neutral zone in this. We are either coming into agreement with God's truth in our thoughts, attitudes, words and actions, or we are moving into agreement with the enemy's lies. Remember the peace report card from the previous lesson? Tragically, we have to make our decisions on faulty or incomplete understandings of truth and its consequences, all the while a cunning adversary is taking full advantage of our lack of knowledge to enslave us or destroy us.
Truth or consequences is the unalterable rule of life. Since our will does not operate in a vacuum, every thought we have - conscious or unconscious - has natural consequences in our bodies in terms of neurological or hormonal responses that affect our organs and even individual cells. That is the universe within our bodies. Our inner life also affects the universe beyond our bodies through our words, actions and prayers. We live in a very real world. Our choices truly matter. Even when we seem to have no power to make things better, we still hold great power to make them worse. This power is immense: We have actually been given the power to choose life or death.
I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live. Deuteronomy 30:19
Covered By a Magnificent Love
Have you been dressed in stress? From the Bible's perspective, every negative emotion is a sin issue. When negative emotions turn our hearts away from trusting God and loving others, we are not clothed in Christ - which may be very often for some of us.
How does the Father see us? Mercifully! Our Father covers us all with great grace. Grace is God's perpetual outpouring of love and mercy that we cannot earn and do not deserve.
In revealing His glory to Moses, God could have shown him the starry heavens which declare His glory or He could have sent down the glory cloud that would one day fill the tabernacle and the temple. But He didn't. Instead, He chose to reveal all that is magnificent about who He is. It is as if He said to Moses, "I'm glad you asked Me. So many of My children have such terribly wrong ideas about Me. Thank you for letting Me set the record straight and clear My own great Name."
Moses said, 'Please show me your glory.' And he said, 'I will make all my goodness pass before you... The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, 'The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.' Exodus 33:18-19, 34:6-7
We are also shown the Father's glorious grace in the New Testament. The Father is fully reconciled to us. He has foreseen all that will be needed of suffering and sacrifice, of patience, mercy and grace on His part and He is "OK" with whatever is required to save us. In fact the Father was in Jesus reconciling the world to Himself. He did this by not holding our sins against us. Instead He held them against Jesus, so that we could receive newness of life.
But all things are from God, who through Jesus Christ reconciled us to Himself [received us into favor, brought us into harmony with Himself]... It was God [personally present] in Christ, reconciling and restoring the world to favor with Himself, not counting up and holding against [men] their trespasses [but cancelling them], and committing to us the message of reconciliation (of the restoration to favor). 2 Corinthians 5:18-19 AMP
Apply this passage to negative emotions.God the Father is not "holding it against" us that we have so many negative emotions stressing us or depressing us. He is perfectly able to love us even when we are in the negative emotion "pig pen" feeding the swine! And He is continuously calling to us to come home to His loving embrace. This is the truly Good News about His amazing grace...
Fortunately, the one consequence we never have to fear is losing His love! (Romans 8:39)
Father, there is so much I still don't understand, help me to walk in what I do know and come with further teachings so that I can grow. I cast this care on you. I suspect that there are so many things about me that need changing that I am overwhelmed. I cast the burden of my whole life on You. Thank You for taking on these cares and for having a plan already in place for helping me. I am ready to trust and obey You with whatever You show me is my part.
Read the rest of this article by taking our free eCourse or look it up in the Downloads section (Truth or Consequences).
Next Healing Lesson
Lesson 3: The Keys to the Kingdom
Understanding God's provision for your liberation
Interested in Going Deeper?
Don't just give these truths a 'head bob' - take our free eCourse for Healing.For further study and for help working these truths into your heart and life, see Truth or Consequences Part 2 (Head to Heart Guide 2) and 'work out' with exercises, discussion questions, review of main points, digging deeper, more scriptures, model prayers, renunciations/affirmations and practical steps of life application. In all there are 24 Main Healing Lessons and 24 Head to Heart Guides to help you bring your heart to God and receive His Great Heart for you in return!