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Victim or Victor

 

Scripture: Romans 8:26-28

 

I. Introduction: Do you ever feel like a victim? A victim is a person who has been harmed in some way, whether physically, financially, vocationally, emotionally, or otherwise. Almost all people are treated poorly at one time or another. But not everyone recovers from the mistreatment they have endured—some individuals allow hurtful experiences to permanently disrupt their lives. They use negative incidents as excuses for sinful or irresponsible behavior.

We don’t have to fall into this destructive pattern. Instead of allowing personal tragedy to devastate our lives, we can let God use it to mature us spiritually.

II. Our worldview directly affects how we relate to our Creator.

Most people fall into one of the following categories:

A. Deists believe God made everything but then stepped back from further involvement with His creation.

B. Pantheists believe that God is the universe and everything in it. God is considered indistinguishable from creation.

C. Materialists believe only what they can see, touch, and experience. Most atheists fall into this category.

D. Fatalists believe everything is predetermined. They think that outcomes remain the same, regardless of the choices people make.

E. Christians believe in a God who is involved with His creation. We believe that the sovereign Lord of the universe made this world from nothing. Although He exists everywhere in creation, He’s separate from it, not contained within it. God is in complete control of everything, yet He gives us freedom and wants to be personally involved in our lives.

III. What assurances does the Bible provide?

A. God is in control of our circumstances. He rules over all events, people, and situations (Ps. 103:19, 135:6; Prov. 21:1; Col. 1:15-17). Nothing evil happens without Him knowing about it. We won’t always like what He allows, and sometimes we will not understand His ways (Deut. 29:29; Isa. 55:8-9). But He has a divine purpose for everything that goes wrong, and can turn the misdeeds of men into something good.

B. God is the source of life and all good things. As the eternal Lord, He created everything.

C. God takes the bad things people do and uses them for His purposes. Joseph realized that his brothers’ evil treatment had been a tool in God’s hand (Gen. 50:20). The Lord can use tragedy in your life to draw you closer to Him and teach you how to depend on Him more fully.

IV. What rewarding truths are connected with the sovereignty of God? We can:

A. Live with greater trust in the Lord. He is the Sovereign of the universe. You and I are able to face difficulty because we know and can rely on the One who is in charge.

B. Experience freedom from worry. Our heavenly Father promises to provide for our basic needs (Matt. 6:25-33). That means when we lack something, God must be working good through that situation.

C. Have an increased sense of gratitude. Because the sovereign Lord is our provider, we can have confidence that every need will be satisfied. Our requests are not met simply by chance, but according to His goodness and fatherly care for us.

D. Be more patient in times of adversity. We can be confident that suffering will end one way or another—He will either bring us through the adversity or take us home to be with Him. Also, the Lord promised never to leave or forsake us (Heb. 13:5).

E. Anticipate God’s work in our lives. We can have confidence that the Lord will work through adversity. For example, I know a family who is losing their home and business, yet they rejoice about the good things God is doing in them through this difficult time.

V. Conclusion: Your heavenly Father always has a purpose for allowing adversity. If you are a child of God, you can be confident that He will work through hardship to develop your character, teach you more about His nature, and equip you to minister more effectively. Learn to see adversity as a tool that God uses to do something fantastic in your life.

(By Dr. Charles F. Stanley of In Touch Ministries, Inc)