SPAM Filter Sovereignty
- Dr. Gary Smalley
- 2006 10 Oct
Viruses! SPAM! Yuck! All of the danger that confronts my computer on a daily basis can’t really harm me like it would have years ago. Most everyone has internet filters that protect and monitor the passing of information on a computer. Thanks to technology, I am much safer today than I was when I bought my first computer in the ‘80’s.
Have you ever stopped to think about God’s sovereignty that way, as a filter for our lives? If my computer has the technology to block external attacks, how much more can the eternal power of the universe block events in your life that He doesn’t want in? He is fully aware of all of your circumstances; He already knows everything about you and He knows what’s coming.
Though your computer is supposed to detect any potential viruses, I know it isn’t an infallible filter. But God is infallible, and His filter is set to make you into His likeness. With my confidence in God’s faithfulness, I now realize my life is under control, knowing He has filtered through what is going to happen to me today.
I struggled thinking that a setback here or a delay there could actually thwart God’s plan for me. I knew it was a huge source of my stress. Finally, I figured out that there were many things out of my control, and there was nothing I could do about them. When I gave those concerns over to the Lord, I experienced relief.
I have been relying upon God and His Word to direct my paths for years. Through some of my dark years in ministry, I forgot what He taught me over 40 years ago. I remember how in those early years the chapters on faith, like Luke 11 and Luke 18, and Mark 11:22-24, really inspired me. The Christian life was fresh, new, and exciting and I wanted to please Jesus with all my heart. My heart was filled with joy, and I wanted others to have it too. But through the years, I forgot about His plan for me and began to try and come up with my own plan for my life.
Most of us want to know what God’s will is for our lives. We all want to know we have purpose and that our life matters. We know as Christians that God is in control, no matter how out of control life can feel. We often forget that God really is Sovereign. I like to think of His sovereignty in terms of a filter.
- God’s Filter Points Me to His Purposes
Maybe you are asking yourself, “What is His purpose for me?” First, we need to start with the basics of why we are here. When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was He replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no greater commandment than these” (Mark 12:30-31). When we obey this one commandment, we are obeying all of the commandments in Scripture. Therefore, our purpose is really all about relationships, that we love God first, and then, each other as we love ourselves.
- God’s Filter Is Always On
God is at work in all aspects of life. He knows what is going to happen now and throughout eternity. I take great comfort in His sovereignty. No matter what I might experience right now that I don’t understand, I know He is working it out for my good, and the good of others. I give Him complete control over the uncontrollable.
I know that God can block anything out of the way, and likewise, allow anything to come my way. He is all-powerful. So if I find myself in a dilemma, I now view it differently. That is, He allowed the experience to occur. Now, I don’t want to turn this into a debate about predestination and foreknowledge, but rather learn to trust that ultimately God is in control. No matter what, He can take anything negative and make it something positive in my life. I’m not always able to accept this fact as quickly as I’d like, but ultimately I do trust God’s filter for my life.
“Give thanks in all things to the Lord, for this is His will in Christ Jesus.” I rest in Romans 8:28 -- God does cause all things to work together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.
The reality is we live in a fallen world and bad things are going to happen to all of us. But the great news is God takes all experiences and uses them for good in our lives. When something bad happens to me, He can cause even the most undesirable circumstances to work together for my good. He knows everything about this world, everything about me, and even knows when a sparrow falls. If He takes time to care for the sparrow, I know how much more time He takes to watch over me.
Trust me, He always uses the “bad” things that happen to us to grow us toward His likeness. It may take you a while to see it, but the fruit in your life will attest to His work in you.
Based on Your Relationship with God, by Dr. Gary Smalley, Tyndale House Publishers, October 2006.
Gary Smalley is president and founder of the Smalley Relationship Center and one of the country's best-known authors and speakers on family relationships. His award-winning and best-selling books have sold over six million copies combined. He has appeared on national televisions programs such as "Oprah Winfrey", "Larry King Live", "Extra", "NBC Today Show" and has spoken to over two million people through his conferences and marriage seminars around the country. For more information about Gary Smalley and I Promise seminars schedule go to www.garysmalley.com