Everyone will face some big deals, so it would be wise for us to prepare for them so that we will know what to do when they show up on our doorstep. Some emergency preparedness now will serve us well later. Big deals stir us up and when we’re stirred, we’re not always wise or godly. “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; 20 for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:19-20). Now there’s step number one, two and three.
Sin is ugly and destructive. The bigger the sin, or the multitude of sins, can be hideous and overwhelming. Unchecked sin maims and kills. It can do this to bodies and to relationships. These are real emergencies that will call for the highest spiritual skills, which begin with a firm commitment to trust and obey the Lord. He has spoken to us in His word, and we have pledged ourselves by oath (i.e., our baptism) to follow Him wherever He leads us. “Not my will, by Yours will be done.” Big deals call for a supernatural response. While many of the “big deals” will involve our brothers and sisters in Christ, Jesus gives us a high standard even for our real enemies: “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. 29 To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. 30 Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. 31 And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise” (Luke 6:27-31).
Intentional or unintentional, our sins and the sins of others can be devastating. Nevertheless, these trials come as part of God’s sanctifying work in our lives. Joseph had a string of “big deals” in his life as the result of his brothers’ sinful actions against him. Throughout the story of Joseph we read that “the Lord was with him.” In the end, Joseph could say to his brothers: “Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? 20 But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. 21 Now therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.” And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them” (Gen. 50:19-21). Indeed, James gives us this extraordinary admonition: “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (James 1:2-4).
So, even in the “big deals”―especially in the “big deals”―God is still all-powerful, all-wise, and He loves you. This is part of His plan to make you more like Christ. Carpe diem. See God’s hand in everything. Learn your lessons (so they don’t have to be repeated). With these reminders and perspectives, it’s time to tackle the “big deals.” Now you should go and deal with the “big deals,” the same way you dealt with the regular “deals,” only with much more urgency; the stakes are much higher. Serious sin must be confronted with truth and grace. You should expect it to be painful, but remedies for serious ailments often are. Remember, God’s grace is greater than all our sins, and we are to be imitators of God. God doesn’t wink at sin, He confronts it head-on.
For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:
22 “Who committed no sin,
Nor was deceit found in His mouth”;
23 who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; 24 who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness— by whose stripes you were healed. 25 For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. ―1 Peter 2:21-25
We prepare to face the “big deals” by learning to handle the routine “deals” in God’s way. Faithfulness in little things leads to faithfulness in big things (e.g., learning to resolve our nuclear family conflicts in a biblical manner). We never regret having done something God’s way; we always regret doing it our way. “Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; 9 not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing” (1 Peter 3:8-9).
More in the next post…