Sorrow or feelings of overwhelm take a ton of energy…In fact, when things get really bad, it’s hard to think about anything else other than how badly we want something –– anything! –– to change. And that’s when it can be so tempting to take matters into our own hands and start living in a way that’s ultimately not God’s best for us…we can end up with serious regrets! The key to living out God’s best plan for our futures is to remember who God is and how he’s been faithful in the past. If we can remember rightly, we can live rightly too.
1. Remember to fear the Lord
- There’s something unique about memory. Every point of view is a view from a point, and the same is true for how we remember things. We filter our memories through the way we see the world. As we journey through life, it’s important to remember the right and truest things about who we are because it affects how we move forward.
- The Psalmist tells us that the person who fears the Lord is “blessed” or “happy.” Often God’s plan for our happiness comes through the least likely places –– like the fear of the Lord. But a heart disposition that fears the Lord is one that walks in his ways and amends the ways we have lived in the past. When you fear the Lord, it changes your behavior.
- According to Psalm 128, when we fear the Lord, other people in our lives are blessed by the fruit God bears through us too. Our families and friends are affected by our healthy walk with the Lord. The best thing that we can do for them is live in the reverence and fear of the Lord.
What does fear of the Lord look like for you? Does your life bear the fruit it should when we walk with God? If not, is there any area of your life in which you need to fear the Lord first and foremost? Where is God asking you to be obedient?
2. Remember God’s character
- Life is hard, and God is good. But that doesn’t mean God is hard. Even though people and circumstances let us down and hurt us, God is neither the source of evil, nor is he handcuffed by it.
- God is not part of the evil in the world and longs to redeem us from it. God is righteous, and he hates the evil that enslaves and harms humanity. The Scriptures are filled with God’s righteous character and acts against evil and oppression.
- Psalm 103:8-14 reminds us that while God hates wickedness and evil, he is gracious toward humanity. He wants us to come before him and allow him to remove the sin and the wrong from our lives. He remembers that we are dust, and he has a Father’s heart—ready to forgive and to rescue.
- There is a lot of brokenness and wrongness in the world around us, but we can’t fixate on those things. We have to remember who God is. We keep our eyes fixed on him by spending time in prayer and in the Scriptures. We need to stay in God’s Word because it’s primarily a text about who God is. When we can remind ourselves of who God is, we are able to face the wrongness of the world.
Describe something in your life or in the world where it’s easier to fixate on the brokenness than on God’s character. How do you need to fix your eyes on the Lord himself in the midst of what you’re seeing around you?
3. Remember God’s blessing
- When spiritual opposition and evil people set themselves against the people of God, they really set themselves against the God of the people. God is faithful to defend his people. Even his vengeance is designed to turn people from evil and back to him.
- God brings so many blessings into our lives. But really, we need to love God for who he is: that despite all he does for us, the greatest blessing is that he forgives us and loves us unconditionally.
- Because of God’s character, ultimately God’s going to do right by his kids. He does not forget or grow weary or leave us as orphans. God is present, powerful, and gracious toward those he loves.
Describe the moment you really understood God’s forgiveness and unconditional love for you. Because you trust his character, how do you need to trust his blessing, that he will do right by you in whatever you’re going through?
Optional Follow-up Questions:
- What makes you say that?
- How do you feel about that?
- How would you explain your answer to a non-Christian friend or neighbor?
- Why did God design it to work that way? Why not just do (whatever else) instead?
- What would you say to someone who disagrees with that?
- Why do we really have to do it like that? Why can’t we just go (some other route) instead?