My friends, I’ve shared many a time over the years that my life verse is Romans 8:28. I’ve built my faith life upon it and in 2014 went through a dark night of the soul that made me question that stance for the first time ever. I questioned whether God was really good.
But what I really ached to know without a doubt was this: Is God good to me?
At the time of this revelation, I didn’t feel like He was, but as the Holy Spirit helped me identify the lie that I’d mistakenly built my foundation upon, I realized I’d somehow connected His goodness to me. To who I am, to how hard I work for Him, to how good I was at being a Christian.
It’s called a striving mentality and it isn’t pretty. I was striving to earn the very things God had already given me. Specifically His love and acceptance as His kid.
As much as I hated going through this process, and I don’t use the word hate lightly here, my friends, I know it was necessary to go through the transformation of my thinking as it says in Romans 12:2.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. — Romans 12:2 ESV
Amazingly, I think many believers are coming to this understanding, because God is focused on not only transforming His children but also His church. He is focused on the message of His love, clear and simple. And He wants that to be the message in the church as well.
I must say, I’m learning that these truths often take time to settle in and take root. I had one of those moments at church one recent Sunday, and I could even feel the shift in my mind. Here I’d thought I had this down finally, for the most part anyway. I can now recognize when the enemy tries to shoot the darts of those old lies, and I deflect them.
But this wasn’t a day for the enemy’s darts. It was a day about God’s goodness. It was a simple phrase the pastor said, and I can’t even tell you what exactly he said. I do know that the Holy Spirit brought it front and center to my attention so loudly that I no longer heard anything else the pastor said.
Here’s what I perceived this day—a truth that still overloads my brain to think about it. And maybe that’s because of the place I used to function in my belief system and can now clearly see it was just so slightly off center of the truth.
God is good. Just as the Bible says in 1 John 4:8 that God is love, God is good. That’s actually part of the definition of the Greek word used, agapé—goodwill.
The part that overloads my brain is that it has absolutely nothing to do with you, me, our pre-believers (though the good Lord knows they need to have something to do with it!), this planet He created, the work we do for Him, and not even our faith can affect God’s goodness. Nothing. At. All.
Even evil and worldly goodness world have no effect upon His goodness, because His goodness is completely dependent upon Him. His goodness simply is. It’s Who He is, Who He has always been and Who He will always be.
This causes me to look at a Romans 8:28 in a whole new way.
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. — Romans 8:28 NIV
God works for the good of those who love Him because He is good. Not because we love Him, but dare I say in spite of it. We are imperfect and can never love Him perfectly. Yet He works for our good, because in our love for Him we invite Him in to do so in order that His plans and purposes for us may grow and flourish in our lives.
In other words, His love and His good plans for us were set in place way before we ever knew Him. We simply have answered the door to His knock when we said yes to Jesus.
And that brings me to a little experiment. Another verse that has meant so much to be in this last year and half journey of intimacy with God. Another verse from Romans 8…
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. — Romans 8:38-39 NLT
Let’s try a little change in wording to bring out this beautiful truth that is the final piece of my transformation in this area.
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s goodness. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s goodness. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the goodness of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
I don’t know about you, my friends, but this blows my mind. And brings God’s love and goodness into clear cut focus like never before. A focus that has no dependency upon my thoughts, beliefs, interpretation or acceptance.
It simply is fact. God is love. God is good. Nothing changes that either. Absolutely nothing.
BUT…this truth changes everything…if we let it. How we see ourselves, our lives, our marriages, our children, and even our pre-believers. Even their unbelief can’t separate us from God’s love and goodness.
My friends, walk in that reassurance everyday. Speak it out loud even if you don’t fully understand or believe it yet. I promise you, hearing the truth will change your heart and mind and set you free. And as you do this, everything around you will begin to shift.
“And you will know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” — Jesus (John 8:32)