by: Creflo Dollar
When we go through painful times in our lives, it can seem like a natural thing to think that God is punishing us. This can stem from a mindset that God is vengeful, angry, and wants to hurt us. The reality is that the choices we make in life can sometimes cause unpleasant circumstances for us. God uses everything that happens to us to try and help us make the right choices, and what we see as a punishment is actually a course correction.
God isn’t a far away deity based in some distant galaxy, out of touch with reality and ready to lower the boom on us when we sin. When we accept Him into our lives, He lives inside of us—you can’t get any closer than that. He developed a beautiful plan for our lives long before we were born, and it’s not His will that any of His children perish (2 Peter 3:9). But He won’t force His plans on us, and He lets us decide for ourselves whether or not to accept them.
In the Old Testament, the people lived under the constant threat of punishment if they sinned. But out of love for us, Jesus came to redeem us from punishment. “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:17). He was sentenced to death and endured the ultimate punishment for us, so we could be spared.
The definition of “redeem” is to repurchase or buy back, which Jesus did with the shedding of His blood. God is the only One Who can defeat the sin that has attached itself to us since the Garden of Eden. We were doomed to punishment because of our tendency to sin, but Jesus paid our ransom. “As for our redeemer, the Lord of hosts is his name, the Holy One of Israel” (Isaiah 47:4).
When we realize we’re hostages to sin and can’t escape its clutches on our own, we can ask Jesus for help. “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2). The word “free” is significant. It means that we are free to make our own choices, good or bad. Sometimes we ignore the directions God is trying to give us, and then blame Him for what happens next.
God uses the pain and suffering resulting from our mistakes and bad decisions to redirect us onto another path. The source of the redirection may come from someone else, a life event, or even directly from the Scriptures. But as our heavenly Father, He disciplines us the same way earthly parents discipline their children (Hebrews 12:5-11).
It may hurt when God is correcting us, but He does this out of love. Our choices determine what kind of life we have, and He wants only the best for us. When we learn to seek His will in our lives, it’s easier for Him to steer us in the right direction, and less painful for us. No matter what happens in our lives, God can turn it around and make it into something positive. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
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