Are things going wrong?
How familiar are we, with right and wrong when it comes to the title question above in our own personal lives? Can people look at us at times in our lives and ask; are things going wrong in your life? Perhaps you consider yourself to be a Christian, but are experiencing a trauma of sorts and cannot understand why God has not intervened for you—or has allowed this to come? I will come back to this aspect of the question in a moment, but let us focus on a few other questions first. Have you ever found yourself in a situation when, someone who is an observer, comes and asks you this question? That person may be a parent, grandparent, an employer, fellow worker or even your minister or a mate in marriage and the list could go on. It could also be just a close friend who can see you are not really functioning at full capacity or has noticed a change or that something is troubling you. Maybe you thought you were not being obvious and no one would know that there are things that are troubling you or something is going wrong in your life. Maybe you are in denial that something has begun to change you, or go wrong at the very least and now you are not functioning at your normal pace or self?
In virtually every situation of this nature, if you are a mature adult of any amount of years, something behind the scenes has been a cause or trigger, something just coming to mind or out of neglect, left undone or ignored; perhaps this is even for long periods of time, depending on the circumstance and the situation itself; and there are any number of reasons that could be named that may start us down a wrong path in our mind, which then may lead to wrong choices or actions. People in today’s world capitalize on this sort of thing, human behavioral shifts, mistakes and changes; due to trauma, accidents, loss of a loved one or most commonly drugs, divorce or betrayal by someone else. Perhaps even you have betrayed someone else or done something you now realize was really dumb or not keeping with a past commitment. Maybe you are one who is prone to be dishonest with yourself and others? These things weighing on our minds can affect our ability to function as we normally would or that others are used to seeing us as. A broken commitment can be devastating to all involved, or even a troubled mind can hinder the otherwise normal function of any individual. Then there are the manipulators in life who prey on the unsuspecting and the easy targets in our society, or perhaps even a family; simply to get something for themselves or for some other kind of gain that is self-centered. Even in the COG, sometimes those unsuspecting and rather naive people, not yet seeing wrong attitudes and motives, can get caught up in other peoples sins and suffer. (1Tim.5:22)
These are just a few things that can be the reason that things are going wrong, at any point in our lives! Many times we find ourselves asking the question—“why did that happen”, or “why didn’t I see that ahead of time” or “why did I even say what I said then”—and again a whole host of things may now be racing thru the mind of a person; which may put them in an off balance state of mind—being “out of the norm”, so to speak. For the more self-centered and manipulative individual, the Bible shows they look for and prey upon a vulnerable person to take advantage of. (This is really Satan’s nature, when you think about it.) Again for those who want to capitalize or prey on the human weaknesses of the moment, there is always an answer for any problem—depending on what “expert” or “wise counsel” you turn to in the world. How many have ever thought about their problems in relation to the right and wrong way of life—a right or wrong decision or choice and then relate that to their relationship to the true God and that connection we were all meant to have with Him? Of course all of this depends on one being called, answering the call and then moving forward in all sincerity; into a condition the Bible indicates as conversion. We humans cannot hide things from God, not even what is in our thoughts. They will be brought to the surface and have to be dealt with, eventually.
Now this gets us into the spiritual realm and most people who are prone to be dishonest never really go there in their lives, unless they see a physical benefit they can develop from doing so. Many in today’s world do not really think in this Biblical way most of the time because they are too consumed with their own self-interests and what is going on in the here and now of this physical realm. This is also the reason we who are trying to be Christians sometimes find ourselves caught up in something that has now seemed to have gone all wrong in spite of “all the good efforts” we feel we may have put into it. We can quickly lose a since of right priorities and get pulled into sin without realization of what is going on, if we are not careful. But again what about the true spiritual aspect and the commitment to it that we each should have made, especially if we claim to be Christians? Can we knowingly let other things get in the way of that?
For the rest of this article let us just examine why things might be “going wrong” in our lives as Christians; which would then most likely relate to whatever the problem might have stemmed from. If we ARE true Christians, (Most today who think they are: really are not, shocking as that may seem to some!) we are going to have trials of various kinds thru-out our lives—but many of those can even be brought on by our own human actions. Granted, some things are simply trials that are for no other purpose but to test our faith! Notice Ps 66:10-12; V.10 For You, O God, have tested us; you have refined us as silver is refined. 11 You brought us into the net; you laid affliction on our backs. 12 You have caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; but You brought us out to rich fulfillment.” (NKJ thru-out unless otherwise noted.)
Now that is something to give some serious time to just think about it! God is always faithful and never breaks a promise or a covenant, and when we do the right thing there are always good end results, even when going through trials. But He requires us to choose to do right of our own volition. One of my favorite verses in the Bible comes to mind; Rom 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Peter says this to us as well; 1 Pet 2:21-23 “For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: 22 "Who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth"; 23 who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously”;--and the context goes on.
I was recently in a place of business and upon observing a person’s demeanor, I ask that person how their day was going. The person looked at me as if I might already know more than he was comfortable with—but then realizing it was just a simple question—he responded by saying; “OH it is just one of those typical Mondays!” It caused me to think about that answer as the person walked away. Why are Mondays always a dread to the many? Well it goes right back to our title question; “are things going wrong?” It seems that is the way with Mondays to most—but it actually has nothing to do with that calendar day or any other—but what things in our life that has brought us to that day in the week. What does the average person here in the USA do before every Monday comes? You know the routine; everyone tries to cram all of their want-a-do’s for themselves into the week end and because of the hang-over, lack of sleep and bad decisions on those days, it is now Monday and reality to deal with again. But that is not supposed to be the life a Christian lives—who has a day of rest from work and the majority of things every week in order to refresh themselves Spiritually—so why are things going wrong in their lives, especially after what we just read from Scripture? Our first priority is now to God and His ways as we are learning from the Bible, then to our covenant promises with Him and others. We must realize that our Spiritual Family is now what should come first, according to the teachings of Christ! (Matt.12:47-50 & Matt.10:37)
When we make commitments as Christians, even to one another, it is our responsibility to see them thru and no one else can shoulder that but us. There is no honest pointing of the finger at someone else when we fail to follow thru on our promises or commitments. (Unless of course someone locks you away in prison or you have had a terrible accident or something else of that nature, therefore you cannot do what you had committed to be doing.) The first and foremost priority of a true Christian is their relationship with God, Jesus Christ and the way of life laid out for us in Scripture. We have made a covenant agreement with God and Christ for life at baptism. Yes I know that none of us are perfect but that should not be used to excuse away our failure to do the right thing. It becomes our responsibility at conversion to also see our need to be in a constant mindset of repentance; so when we have slipped up or made a wrong choice or decision and we know it—the first thing to do is repent—no excuses. Let us notice a passage of Scripture that applies to every true Christian in ANY CIRCUMSTANCE that can ever arise and is why Rom.8:28 say’s what it says! Matt 6:32-34 is the conclusion of some things Christ was relaying about a method of prayer, what the focus of prayer should be and then instructions of why we should not become anxious enough about physical things to become distracted by them. We then read this; V.32 "For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (A point of His righteousness is honesty & faithfulness.)
If we have made this covenant with God to walk in His ways and are seriously doing this as best we can, we will also be doing our best to keep all other commitments as well and leave it in His hands to take care of the things we cannot. God says through the pen of Jeremiah; (Jer.32:27) "Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?” Jeremiah answered that very question previously in the same chapter when he said; 'Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You.” Jesus Christ has already committed Himself to us in love and He will not break that covenant. Unfortunately we humans are not able to do the same thing without going to God A LOT of times in our lives and asking for His forgiveness, which He then is able to quickly grant because of that honest and sincere repentance. That action on His part is called grace because there is nothing we can do to earn it, as it is unmerited pardon!
Sin is the most likely cause of things going wrong, whether it be our own sins or someone else’s sin and we get pulled into it. (Excluding innocent babies and little children to a certain point of life who do not know what sin is, all have sinned. Rom.3:23) Marriages fail on a regular basis, sometimes even in the COG, because lies have been told, adultery has been committed, things have been lusted for and covenants have been broken with the mate but most definitely with God, if this is happening in the COG.
(As shocking as it may seem, some marriages never brought God into them because of fraud, wrong motivations and dishonesty, before the “vows” were even made. Some have entered into marriage, yes even in the COG, based on lies and deception for physical gain and self-satisfaction.)
Friendships fail for the same reason—dishonesty or a shift in course or priorities for one or both parties— Homes and families, even countries divide because of divisions in the minds of the people. God is never partial to one human being over another in righteousness and makes it very clear that when sin enters the picture it has to be acknowledged and repented of before any reconciliation with Him can come about. Our sins cut us off from God and there are no exceptions. (Isa.59:1-3) However, in this world today and even in Laodicea (our time now) with all the scattered COG groups, one can just go to another group and may never really repent. In these cases, it is most definitely “by their fruits” that we can know if there has ever really been any change in the character of the individual. If they were carrying around a front—that will just be carried right along with them to the next group.
So in conclusion, when we feel that someone could ask the question of us; “Are things going wrong”? and we know that they really are, perhaps we need to begin to look deep inside and in all honesty ask ourselves where we started off course. Have we broken vows or commitments in our minds, perhaps even in actions dealing with marriages & vows that were made? (Which if one is in the COG and is baptized, this would also break the covenant promise with God.) If we are NOT still right with God in keeping the promises or commitments we have already made before Him, then we need the heart & mind of quick repentance and asking forgiveness. We cannot excuse ourselves and point the finger at someone else—it is a choice we have or must make to do the right thing, if we want to be right with God. Scripture says; "No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon." (Luke 16:13-NKJ) Sometimes a trial may be allowed to come, when God detects something going on inside the mind that might not be right. Whether it be a marriage relationship or any other kind, sometimes being put in a situation where we have to acknowledge we have allowed wrong thoughts or are thinking in a wrong way about something, that trial will wakes us up and we get it straightened out with God through prayer, repentance and forgiveness. Sadly though, sometimes people can be too stubborn to acknowledge their wrong thinking and just go further into sin, breaking even more commandments. (Gen.4 & Cain’s situation is an example of this)
If we have made mistakes they should be admitted and repented of before sinning any further—getting our priorities straight once again and then move forward. We may have to go through some fiery trials in this life; “yet for us (true Christians) there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live.” (1 Cor.8:6) Is it He who is working in you to do what you are doing or thinking, that has gotten things going wrong? Very doubtful, unless as was just presented above, He is allowing a trial to awaken you to see the truth of any matter and make a course correction, then it is still up to each and every one of us to choose to do what should be done according to His righteousness.
If we live up to our commitments and the conditions for eternal life, submitting to the authority over us, then we can rest assured with the faith of Christ that He will keep His promise and continue to work with us!
Then when things are going wrong, it will not be because WE are breaking any of His Ten Commandments or covenants we have made with Him! (Editor for tcogmso)