Are you facing a difficult situation?
Maybe you’ve lost your job, or your house is upside down, or one of your kids is going through a real struggle. And no matter what you do, you can’t seem to fix it.
Unconsciously, what we tend to pray in difficult circumstances like these is, “Oh God, can You get my life right side up so it works for me?” Our agenda for our lives is often for things to go our way.
But God has a different agenda.
James 1 says, “Consider it all joy when you encounter various trials knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance and allow or let endurance have its perfecting result that you might be perfect.”The literal Greek word for perfect means “mature,” or “complete.”
This means, when we go through a negative, painful circumstance, God’s goal isn’t to necessarily change it but to give us perspective so that we are able to rejoice in the midst of it.
This might mean that you’ll rent for the rest of your life. Or you might have to change jobs, or you might have to relocate. Your circumstances might not change or get better.
But if you’re in step with the Spirit and you endure under a difficult circumstance, the one thing that will change for the better is you.
That’s because the primary agenda of the Holy Spirit is to make us like Him.
Romans 8:28-29 says: We know that God works all things together for the good for them that love Him, for those that are called according to His purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son…
So often we only focus on verse 28 of this passage. In our American Christianity, we think, “God’s going to work everything out for our good. We’re going to be happy, things are going to be upwardly mobile, our kids are going to turn out right, our marriage is going to get more enriching, and everything’s going to be great someday. So just keep trusting God to get these things.”
And then we neglect to consider verse 29which says we are “predestined to be conformed to the image of His son…”
This should change our whole perspective!
When we understand that the resurrected Christ lives inside of us in the person of the Holy Spirit and His number one agenda is to conform us to His image, then we will begin to look at people, stuff, money, and things differently!
Is God gracious and wonderful when He blesses our lives with great relationships, good health, and well-paying jobs? Yes, of course! But that’s not His agenda. That’s the grace and the blessing of God.
What God is saying to us can be summarized like this: “In this dark and fallen world where there is evil, you are my light and my instruments. Therefore, my number one agenda is to make you like my Son! This means I want you to think like my Son. I want you to speak like my Son. I want you to be generous like my Son. I want you to love lost people like my Son, and I want you to confront unrighteousness and injustice like my Son.”
This is the “spiritual fruit” that the Apostle John talks about in chapter 15 when he writes: “This is to My Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves, (demonstrating, or proving) to be My disciples.” (John 15:8)
Perhaps now you’re thinking, “Chip, I understand this is what God wants, but it sounds too difficult!”
That’s because it is! Our faith and obedience are needed to produce spiritual fruit in our lives, but none of it is possible without the Holy Spirit empowering us to live out His agenda.
To learn more about the Holy Spirit’s agenda for your life and what it means to be transformed into the image of Christ, check out Chip’s series The Holy Spirit: Experiencing His Power and Presence 24/7.
Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.More Articles by Chip