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Better Than Planned

 
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    Posted: Jan 28 2014 at 2:18pm

Better Than Planned

By Julie Ackerman Link

 
Giving thanks always for all things. —Ephesians 5:20
 
Interruptions are nothing new. Rarely does a day go by as planned.

Life is filled with inconveniences. Our plans are constantly thwarted by forces beyond our control. The list is long and ever-changing: Sickness. Conflict. Traffic jams. Forgetfulness. Appliance malfunctions. Rudeness. Laziness. Impatience. Incompetence.

What we cannot see, however, is the other side of inconvenience. We think it has no purpose other than to discourage us, make life more difficult, and thwart our plans. However, inconvenience could be God’s way of protecting us from some unseen danger, or it could be an opportunity to demonstrate God’s grace and forgiveness. It might be the start of something even better than we had planned. Or it could be a test to see how we respond to adversity. Whatever it is, even though we may not know God’s reason, we can be assured of His motive—to make us more like Jesus and to further His kingdom on earth.

To say that God’s followers throughout history have been “inconvenienced” would be an understatement. But God had a purpose. Knowing this, we can thank Him, being confident that He is giving us an opportunity to redeem the time (Eph. 5:16,20).

Lord, so often it’s the little things in life that get
to me, and there seem to be so many of them.
Whenever I’m tempted to lose my temper, blame
someone, or just give up, help me see You.
What happens to us is not nearly as important as what God does in us and through us.

Insight

In today’s passage, after exhorting the believers to “be very careful” (niv) in how they live and to be skillful in handling life (v.15), Paul went deeper by asking them to look at their lives and ask: Who or what is in control of my life and dictates how I live? Instead of allowing wine (or anything else) to control one’s mind and actions, believers are to let the Holy Spirit continually fill them so that He governs how they live (v.18; Prov. 20:1; 23:21,29-35). A life under the Spirit’s control is characterized by joy, gratitude, and the fear of the Lord (Eph. 5:19-20).
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