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All things...

At times, we want to understand better what is really going on in our lives - because without 'knowing' a little bit more, we might just give up on the whole kit and caboodle. What a joy it is to come to the place where we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is at work in our lives - doing for us what we could not do for ourselves. We "know" - we have come to recognize, understand completely, become so familiar with God and his ways that we don't question his plans or purposes. This comes to most of us through some form of experience - there is no substitute for seeing God's work in our lives - no substitute for the manifestation of his purpose - no substitution for just 'experiencing' God's protection as we 'go through' whatever it is we are going through right now.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.  For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.  And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.  (Romans 8:28-29)

How is it that we come to know about God and how he works? We come to a place where we recognize that he works "in all things" - in every kind or variety of circumstance - taking the whole matter into his hands, nothing being left incomplete or without his attentive care. We cannot say this about ourselves because we are very good at leaving all kinds of "loose ends" all the time. God is not a "loose ends" kind of God - he ties them up, one by one. We can also know that God takes all things - every matter or concern we face - even the accomplishments of our lives, and works them for the good in our lives - even when all the pieces seem kind of 'bad'. He puts the pieces together - placing them into effective operation like only he can do - bringing the results that only he can orchestrate. His ultimate purpose in intervening in our lives is to bring what is morally honorable, pleasing in every way, and beneficial for us.

Who are those who "have been called according to his purpose"? We are - we have been invited and roused from our place of spiritual slumber, in order to have him move within our lives. As we respond to his movement, we begin to participate in the fullness of what provides - A holy life - a spiritually pure walk, with us being separated from our sin, and consecrated to a holy God (2 Tim. 1:9). A life of fellowship with God - living in complete partnership with him, enjoying intimate communion with him. It is only possible to be a partaker of all he provides when we begin to move into a place where we have things in common with God. As his holiness becomes a reality in our lives, we draw closer to him, learning to share in his graces more deeply. A life of freedom - purchased out of bondage never again to be sold into slavery to the things of our past. We are now the unique property of God and as such, we enjoy the freedom of release from past sin, present resentment, and future short-falls. A life of light - all moral and spiritual darkness fading, now able to receive and reflect the light we embrace. We become radiant reflections of his grace.

We are called according to his purpose - in conformity to his plans and intents. This calling is designed to bring us into conformity to the likeness of Christ. When we begin to embrace what it accomplished in his calling (invitation), we see the possibilities of living in harmony with the standards of a holy God and the miracle of his likeness being re-created in us. We are becoming a copy of him - his moral attributes coming into full agreement within us so that our character is deeply affected and changed. We are in a transition period in our lives - being transformed into his image - no longer conformed to the world. The transformation of mind, will, and emotion is a divine work - we participate in obedience to what he reveals - but it is still his work within us. Minds are readied, will is brought under control, and emotions move into divine hope by the alignment of our hearts with his.

We are in this to be conquerors. It is not enough to be called - we must be conformed. It is insufficient to simply conform - we must be conquerors in all things. Conquerors have gained the mastery over the old nature - no longer responding to it as master of their lives. How? Through the revelation that Christ now lives in us - where holiness dwells, we can be assured freedom abounds. In becoming a conqueror, we move to a place of being fully convinced of our standing in Christ. Belief moves from head knowledge into action (knowledge at work) - when we are persuaded fully of his love and his protection - we do not hesitate to move in obedient action. Just sayin!

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