Crosstalk: February 28, 2018
Dr. Les Ollila is the founder and director of Building Great Leaders. He's a former pastor, staff evangelist and former president of what was then known as Northland Baptist Bible College. He's also a member of the board of directors of VCY America.
There are Christians who believe that if they are faithful to the Lord, faithful in church, having a daily quiet time and faithful in service, that somehow they're going to be immune from times of severe trial or tragedy. Is there Scripture that backs this up?
Dr. Ollila noted that it's actually the opposite. From Scripture we see that anyone who abandoned themselves to the total will of God ended up in less than ideal circumstances. Satan then comes along and puts a question mark about the character of God and we forget that we were born to reflect the nature and character of God to glorify Him. So many times we glorify him through how we respond to sufferings.
How do we know when the 'rug is pulled out from under our feet' whether this is the discipline of God or if this is a test of character/commitment?
Dr. Ollila believes that someone indwelt by the Holy Spirit would know very quickly through conviction and would acknowledge chastisement. David did that in Psalm 32 and Psalm 51. This person will know if what's taking place is God's hand of conviction and correction to conform that person to the image of His Son.
On the other hand, another person cannot presuppose that a person is going through what they are because they're hiding some kind of sin. Most of the time an outside judge will miss the point of what's really going on.
He also described how God uses sickness to drive people to himself and there is no biblical basis for saying that if someone is sick, it's a consequence of some sin in their life.
When a call does come that delivers news of something earth-shattering and now 'normal' is gone, there are 4 action steps people can take:
--Acknowledge--Whatever is happening is true. You won't wake up tomorrow and discover this was only a dream. For some this happens quickly, while for others the effect hangs on for a long time.
--Accept--Accepting the scenario is the hardest because it means you completely trust God in the circumstances. Some never accept it and die bitter. They turn to blaming God and change their attitude regarding the church. We see this during the first use of language among Adam and Eve as they blamed God by believing he could have stopped what took place.
--Adapt--Normal is God. So create a new normal and make a ministry out of it. Admit that you would not have chosen whatever took place to happen. However, you would not go back and have it not happen because of the result of your conformity to Christ in the midst of it all.
--Accelerate--Dr. Ollila believes the key to spiritual success is a bad memory and good vision. You can't change yesterday but you can allow God to use you for the rest of your life to accelerate. Paul didn't meditate on his previous behavior and actions. He said, '...forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.' (Philippines 3:13(b)-14)
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