Isn’t it fascinating how good we are at giving advice to others?
As Pastors and leaders, it seems that counsel is requested of us, often times it’s in the most inopportune times too–say in the middle of an important moment in the fourth quarter of a divisional playoff game (that’s just painful right?).
Then there are the times that we give it out unsolicited. We see someone that we care about, and we want to speak into their life through revelation that we have received personally or because we have walked through a similar path. As leaders, there are issues that we tend to “specialize” in. Areas that the Holy Spirit has secured up as a sort of Godly Stronghold in us. It’s something that we believe in and we live in daily victory in this arena. So it makes sense that we want others to have that same freedom.
Sounds familiar, right? Here’s the challenge: How good are you at taking your own counsel? Romans 8:28 says, “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.” It is one of the most quoted verses in all of scripture and I venture to say that if you are reading this, you’ve shared it with someone at some point. It’s been used for centuries in and out of context to inspire, console, spur on and motivate those in a particularly trying season or situation.
Here’s the truth about the verse: it is 100% accurate.
God WILL work all things together for the good of those who love and are called to his purpose. Period. There are no caveats, no ifs, and’s or buts.
However, when you look at this verse, do you believe that the words “ALL THINGS” really does mean all things? For me personally, I recite and claim this verse in my prayer life as an anchor of hope when I am betrayed by someone I call a friend, or I fall suddenly ill, or I come home to a house fire (on an Easter Sunday no less).
Whether an attack from the enemy or a test from heaven, when events or circumstances take place that were done to myself or others, I am quick to call out to heaven and remind my soul that this too will “work together for my good.”
But what if it’s your mistake that got you into a troubling situation?
What if your sin caused pain to you, your family and your church? What if you had a boneheaded moment of anger, or a fleshly fall into temptation? Aren’t you and I as leaders supposed to be above these failures? Can God, will God work all things for our good then?
We’re well versed in Peter’s sin by the fire. The dude that said he wouldn’t fold did, in fact, fold in an instant when the pressure came. The guy who was the first to stand and proclaim his hardcore allegiance shrank in the moment. I have often thought about the rooster crowing and the depth of shame he was put in. I think it was even darker BECAUSE of his belief in his own discipline, fervency and abilities. But I want you to think about Peter after Jesus ascended.
What we see in the book of Acts is that Peter is completely filled to the brim with the Holy Spirits power and courage. He’s in the midst of the lion’s den multiple times where men of great position and power are trying to silence him with very real, forceful threats. Recognize that this isn’t a small fire pit outside the temple courts and servant girl questioning him. When it comes to intimidation, that’s small potatoes! After the resurrection, Peter is delivering sermons in front of dangerous crowds. When it comes to proving his allegiance, he’s passing the test with flying colors and in all boldness in the power of the Holy Spirit rather than his own strength.
I believe that God worked to make the weakest moment of Peter’s life into the building block for the greatest moment!
I believe God worked the shame of his failure to become the catalyst for victory.
God works ALL things for the good for those that love him and are called according to his purpose. Yes, even our failures.
So, as you give out counsel in regard to this verse, give it with certainty, believing it for yourself. And when you find yourself in a situation caused by your own mistakes, have the courage to ask the Lord to do a work in you like he did in Peter…what a great sermon that will make!