Do you really believe that God is good? Does He allow bad things and intervene when necessary or does he work differently to this? What part does free choice have in determining what positive or negative things happen to us? How will understanding the goodness of God transforms how we live? Through reading the book “God is Good” by Bill Johnson I have discovered some things about God’s goodness that I pray both encourages and empowers you to both see God differently and to have the confidence to step out in life able to trust in the goodness of God no matter what you see or feel.
To begin with, Psalm 27 is a psalm that has greatly encouraged me this year. I would have despaired or even given up if I had not believed God was good and would intervene in my life, no matter how bad I felt. This year has been about stepping up and waiting on God to intervene no matter how I felt. To my surprise, He has intervened in a way I had not expected and in a greater way than I could have imagined!
I would have despaired had I not believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living. Wait for and confidently expect the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for and confidently expect the LORD. Psalms 27:13-14 AMP
God’s Will – Fixed and Desires
To begin with, understanding the will of God makes a huge difference when we realise that God’s will is both fixed and also refers to His desires and wishes. For one will of God, no matter how people oppose it or work against it, it will happen. This fixed will is seen when we read about Jesus returning. He will return so this is the fixed will of God. On the other hand, the word thelema refers to God's desires and wishes. For example, "God is not willing that any should perish" (2 Peter 3:9). God's will can only happen when people respond to God's heart. God's people must go out with the good news about God AND people must hear and receive and act upon the good news. As we grow to become people who look like and live like Jesus, we actively work to ensure God's desires and wishes happen. God's desires and wishes happen when His children are willing to pray, actively stop the devil stealing, killing and destroying and bring Heaven to be established on earth. So we can be certain about what is the fixed will of God and actively pray and work with God or co-partner with Him to ensure His desires and wishes happen. That is our role as His children on earth.
God’s Desires And Wishes – Our Role In Co-Partnering With God
What is our responsibility as a believer? The biggest responsibility is to bring heaven to earth through prayer, worship, and obedience. Simply, we are working with or co-partnering with God to cause His will to happen. We display and establish Heaven on earth by breaking the powers of darkness, restoring broken hearts, lives, and homes. We are called to follow on from what Jesus started with His disciples over the three years He was with them.
God has given us all of Heaven's resources to draw from as He sends us out in His name. Jesus gave us everything that belongs to Him… and His Father gave Him EVERYTHING!!
14 He will glorify me on the earth, for he will receive from me what is mine and reveal it to you. 15 Everything that belongs to the Father belongs to me—that’s why I say that the Divine Encourager will receive what is mine and reveal it to you John 16:14-15.
How do we receive what the Father has given Jesus? The Holy Spirit releases what Jesus possess into our accounts as we make declarations.
8 You must continually bring healing to lepers and to those who are sick and make it your habit to break off the demonic presence from people, and raise the dead back to life. Freely you have received the power of the kingdom, so freely release it to others. Matthew 10:8
19 Now wherever you go, make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. 20 And teach them to faithfully follow all that I have commanded you. And never forget that I am with you every day, even to the completion of this age.” Matthew 28:18-20.TPT
Living As Citizens of The Kingdom of God – While Still on Earth
What is our role as Christians on the earth? One of the key changes we make when we become members of the family of God is that we move our allegiance from the kingdom of the world to the Kingdom of God. As Christians, we are living in two realms or realities. On one hand, we live on Earth, but we are citizens of Heaven. We have been forgiven of our sins, but we still sin. God's Kingdom has been established on earth BUT it is still coming. To trust God during this tension is only possible when we understand and believe in the goodness of God. Whatever our adversary, violence that comes against us or people who witness falsely against us, we still can, through understanding the goodness of God, keep positive and expect God will come through for us!
13 I would have lost heart unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness of the LORD
In the land of the living.
14 Wait on the LORD;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the LORD!
Psalm 27:13-14 NKJV
As citizens of this new kingdom, we both live under the rule or lordship of the King, Jesus, and receive protection, provision, and direction from Him. As our king, we bow the knee and submit our will to Him. As His subjects, we are called children, brothers, and family, and are called to co-partner with him to fully establish His Kingdom on earth. Quite an exciting task. This task called the Great Commission can only be achieved through holiness. Holiness transforms all creation. In Romans 8:18-22, we read: -
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; 21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Romans 18:18-22
God’s Sons Release God’s Glory on Earth
Creation longs for the sons of God to come and release God's glory on the earth. As citizens of this new Kingdom, we are an integral part of the plan God has for His creation. Creation has been waiting so long for God's children to manifest God's presence as they learn who they really are. Creation is waiting for us to step up and into the role God has made us be. As we come into every situation creation groans and says “We have been waiting for you to come for so long! Thank you for coming!” What an amazing revelation to have about the effect we have on creation as we are released as God's holy, and Spirit-filled children!
Importance of Holiness
What role does holiness play in fulfilling this mandate? By reading the New and Old Testaments, it is easy to see holiness from different points in time. God is always the same, but the way He has displayed His holiness has been different. As a holy God, He is unable to have a relationship with a fallen creation. His grace was displayed through sending Jesus to come, live and die for our sins so He could have an eternal relationship with us revealing both His holiness AND His grace and mercy. Nothing we can do can earn His favour as we already have it! Instead, we learn to live in His favour to increase what He has given us. If we correctly steward what we have He will grow it. God is teaching us that:-
There will be a highway of holiness called the Sacred Way.
The impure will not be permitted on this road,
but it will be accessible to God’s people.
And not even fools will lose their way. Isaiah 35:8
This highway will be an easy road once you are on it. Even those who are considered "fools" will not lose their way on this highway! The way on to this highway is to be holy.
Pass through, pass through the gates,
and go from old to new.
Prepare a new path for the people.
Build! Build up a highway for them to come to me!
Remove every hindrance
and unfurl a banner for the nations! Isaiah 62:10
This new path is a highway of holiness. To enter the path, we need to enter the gate. The gates can be seen as gates of praise. When God's people give God praise something happens in the atmosphere. Praise clears the way for God's people to move forward. As we praise God continually, we create a Heaven-like realm over the location we praise God. This causes changes in our perception of reality and in effect builds a highway that is an atmosphere that allows people easy access to get to know Christ. When we praise God, we release His glory, His goodness and a harvest of the souls that are so important to God and therefore to us!
New Perspective Needed – Learning To View the World Through His Eyes
God is calling His children to see the world as He sees it. As we grow in our love for God, we grow in the depth of hatred we have for what He hates and will condemn whatever will interfere with His love. Jesus hated sickness as much as sin. His blood covers our sin and His wounds
24 He himself carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we would be dead to sin and live for righteousness. Our instant healing flowed from his wounding. TPT
(Note: The Greek word for “healing” (iaomai) clearly refers to physical healing and is used as a medical term to describe curing the physical body. This healing includes the body, soul, and emotions. It was fulfilled in two ways: first, by the healing ministry of Jesus, and second, by the blood of Christ’s wounds. See Matt. 8:16–17; Isa. 53:5.)
When we walk in holiness, we actually release in power the things God has for His creation. We are releasing His will on earth as it is in Heaven. Holiness brings a release of God's power, presence, and purposes on the earth. When we walk in who God has made us be and co-labour with Him, all creation benefits.
Walking In Wisdom So We Can Reign With Wisdom
Not only is God calling us to walk in wisdom, but He is also calling us to reign with wisdom. The word "proverb" comes from a word that means to reign. God is calling us to walk in wisdom so we can reign in life. Jesus, who is called Wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:30) was the Son of Man who lived in triumph and victory. He was never controlled by the fear of man. When we reign in life, we also never live in the fear of man, but live in the "fear" of God or the deep understanding of who God is. When we reign in life we reign over money and are free to use, give and trust God will provide for our needs. Despite the circumstances, we reign over them and reigning in life means we have the tools to live in healthy relationships and family. As we learn to reign in every situation we are in and have victory in our lives through wisdom we can display to others what it means to live out the wisdom God gives to us through His Word and Holy Spirit.
A Good God Deserves Worship / Learn To Prophesy
When we live with an understanding that God is good, we can start to have a hope that is not based on what we see or what the world says. We are called to live a life of worship which is an offering to God. This worship is expressed through the way we speak about the world and others. When society is declining it is easy to prophesy judgement when there is no move of God. Therefore, we are called to prophesy according to our faith and not what we see. As we are all aware of Jesus returning, how we see His return will have a huge impact on how we live our lives now. Jesus will return AND we have a responsibility to transform society or establish His Kingdom on earth. There is hope for the future and God is calling us to prophesy and live according to the hope we have in God, not the destruction we see. Paul calls the church to "bless and do not curse" in Romans 12:14 which means instead of speaking our logical conclusions of sin over people who are hurting us, God is calling us to bless them and bring God's Kingdom into the situation. Underserved blessing brings transformation.
Being Examples of Faith For Others To Follow
As we live a life of holiness and are people of both thanksgiving, praise, and worship, we start to live a life that is a real example for others to see and follow. God is calling mentors and models to give examples through the way they live how to do life. Being an example is much greater than discipling others. Who we are speaks volumes to others much more than our gifts and what we can do. My dreams, then, stem from not my insecurities and what I can see, but from knowing His nature and promises. In Matthew 7:11 we read:-
11 If you, imperfect as you are, know how to lovingly take care of your children and give them what’s best, how much more ready is your heavenly Father to give wonderful gifts to those who ask him?” Matthew 7:11
God desires to give us good gifts beyond what we could hope for or imagine. God is a good God who loves to give us dreams and then do the impossible to fulfil them in our lives. God's nature is seen through the way He blesses His children. God's dream is to fulfil our dreams and for us to become fully the person He has made us be. When we move away from religion, which is form without power, we have the freedom to both dream and anticipate that God will co-labour with us to achieve these dreams in our lives. So, living our lives as an example to others is essential. People can detect a counterfeit a mile away. They are crying out for people who have integrity and are real.
As we live a life as an authentic example, our goal is to encourage others to both see and be drawn into living life through an authentic encounter with God. To do this we must be filled with His Spirit, maintain awareness of Him and be willing to do whatever He leads us to do. Being filled with His Spirit means not just to the top but overflowing continually through constantly being in His presence. This overflow is what will touch people and cause them to experience the "living water" that God wants to flow from all believers into the world.
37 Then on the most important day of the feast, the last day, Jesus stood and shouted out to the crowds—“All you thirsty ones, come to me! Come to me and drink! 38 Believe in me so that rivers of living water will burst out from within you, flowing from your innermost being, just like the Scripture says! ”John 7:37-38 TPT
Through us, God wants to saturate the land with His presence as His Spirit fills and overflows in our life! What a wonderful picture!!
Issues From Rapture Theology
Something that I have noticed is the harm the “rapture” theology has had on the church. Many people have sensed the evil is getting too bad so the only thing they can do is hide and wait for Jesus to return. They believe that only the return of Jesus would make things right again. Is this true? This sitting back and waiting for His return can be seen as selfish and shows how disconnected we have become from understanding the heart and will of God. There are billions of people God has not been revealed to and will suffer eternal repercussions if they do not learn about and receive His salvation. Our attitude becomes one where the return of Jesus will be too soon, and we want as many to come into the Kingdom before He returns. As we understand and see the world through God's goodness, we stop hiding but get out so we can release His glory, holiness and love. Our heart becomes one that asks God that through us many will enter the Kingdom of God.
When we understand the goodness of God, then not only how we see the world will change, but how we act. I am confident I will see the goodness of God in the land of the living! Knowing God has a fixed will gives me security and knowing God’s desires gives me a clear focus on what He is calling me to do so His will is established on earth. Establishing Heaven on earth requires being first grounded in the Kingdom of God and living totally different to others. God, through Jesus, has given us all we need to complete what He has given us to do. We are a citizen of God’s Kingdom living on earth. Through holiness or being set apart for His work, we will release His glory on earth and walk through the gates of praise and on to the Highway of Holiness. By living this way, our life will be an example for others to follow. In this new era, God is calling His children to see the world through His eyes, have His heart and work to establish God’s will on earth. To do this God is releasing His wisdom through the Word and is calling us to not only to walk in wisdom but to worship Him and prophesy who He is, what He is doing and the exciting things He has is and will do.
It is time to get to not only understand but live in the confidence knowing that God is good. As you do, it will transform your relationship with Him and how you live. Co-labouring with God to establish Heaven on earth is something creation is groaning in anticipation for. Jesus is coming so let’s co-labour with God to release His will on earth so when He returns many will have come into His Kingdom! Creation is expecting you. Live out what God has created you for!