God Doesn't Play Red Light Green Light - Encouragement for Today - July 9, 2020

Bob GoffJuly 9, 2020

God Doesn’t Play Red Light, Green Light 

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“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” James 1:2-5 (ESV) 

I hear a lot of people in faith communities talking about doors, like God is a concierge at an apartment building. “He opened the door” or “He closed the door” gets tossed around a lot. Yet I’ve come to realize that although God orders all our steps, we have agency over the moves we decide to make, too.

We turn to God for answers, direction and purpose in our lives, and He gives us Jesus all over again. Our faith isn’t a puzzle to be solved, it’s a path to be followed. But how?

Sure, I get the concept about open and closed doors. I’m just not sure I accept the premise that God is playing “red light, green light” games, telling us to advance or go back, in every situation.

While I do think God cares intimately about our hearts and ambitions when they’re His, I don’t think He’s necessarily the guy standing at the door, opening and closing it. If you’re a musician and sing bad songs, I wouldn’t be too quick to say “God shut the door on my career.” It’s a hard truth, but maybe it’s time to get better at singing.

If you’re an author like me and write uninspiring words, as has happened often to me, let’s aim to bring it to Jesus and not blame Him for it. What I’m saying is that it’s easy to conjure up divine intervention for poor performance. Let’s not fall for it. And instead, we can get busy getting better.

Does God engage in our lives in unseen ways? Certainly. Who knows how many guardian angels have put themselves between you and a bad outcome? Hitting a couple of road bumps doesn’t always mean God is trying to send a secret, encrypted message. Maybe what we tried just didn’t work out the way we hoped.

What I’ve come to really believe is that in God’s economy, nothing is ever wasted. Not our pain, nor our disappointments, nor our setbacks. These are tools that can be used later as a recipe for our best work. Quit throwing the “batter” away.

Today’s key verse says it best. “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him” (James 1:2-5).

Thankfully, God isn’t tapping His pencil on a scorecard, scrutinizing our every move until we get it right. He is with us while we navigate life’s difficulties. We all mess up — often. So let’s keep moving ahead. With our eyes on Jesus rather than caring how we look to everyone else. If we keep it about Jesus, He promised we’d come to know more about Him while we’re figuring out a few more things about ourselves.

Some things we try will work; others won’t. It’s that simple. So, I’m making it my goal to learn what I can from the successes or setbacks and move on.

Our failures don’t name us — God does. If you’re not hearing the name “beloved” whispered over your shoulder when you have a major face-plant or a setback, just remember, it’s not Jesus doing the talking.

Dear God, help me remember that failure is just part of the process, and it’s not just OK; it’s better than OK. Thank You for never keeping a record of my strikes and always helping me dust myself off so I can swing for the fences again. And for loving me always, no matter what. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Psalm 37:23, “The LORD makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him.” (NIV)

Galatians 6:9, “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” (ESV)

Remember the exciting plans you had for your life — before somebody told you they were impossible? Bob Goff wants to help you rediscover those passions! Based on lessons from his popular workshops, he’ll show you how to clearly define your dreams, identify obstacles, develop a specific strategy for reaching your goals, acquire the tools you’ll need and take action. For more on perseverance and no longer letting fear call the shots, grab a copy of Dream Big: Know What You Want, Why You Want It, and What You’re Going to Do About It.

If you’re ready to chase your big ambitions, have a fulfilling life, and impact the world for good, listen to Bob’s Dream Big podcast on Apple Podcasts.

Enter to WIN your very own copy of Dream Big by Bob Goff. To celebrate this book, Bob’s publisher will give away 5 copies! Enter to win by leaving a comment here. {We’ll randomly select 5 winners and then notify each one in the comments section by Monday, July 13, 2020.}

Do you view your faith as a puzzle to be solved or a path to be followed? How does your view of who God is shape this?

How have you seen God use the hard seasons in your life to prepare you for greater things?

Bob Goff is the Honorary Consul to the Republic of Uganda, an attorney and the founder of Love Does — a nonprofit human rights organization operating in Uganda, India, Nepal, Iraq and Somalia. He's a lover of balloons, cake pops and helping people pursue their big dreams. For more, check out BobGoff.com and LoveDoes.org.

© 2020 by Bob Goff. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Nelson Books, a division of HarperCollins Christian Publishing, for their sponsorship of today’s devotion.

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About Encouragement for Today

Proverbs 31 Ministries is a non-denominational, non-profit Christian ministry that seeks to lead women into a personal relationship with Christ. With Proverbs 31:10-31 as a guide, Proverbs 31 Ministries reaches women right in the middle of their busy day through free daily devotions, radio program, speaking events, conferences, monthly magazine, resources, online communities, and Gather and Grow groups. We are real women offering real-life solutions to women who are striving to maintain life’s balance, in spite of today’s hectic pace and cultural pull away from godly principles. Wherever a woman may be on her spiritual journey, Proverbs 31 Ministries exists to be a trusted friend who takes her by the hand and walks by her side, leading her one step closer to the heart of God.