This Might Be Making You Miserable

I am currently preaching through the book of Romans. It is the second time that I have preached through it and I can say that it is definitely one of my favorite books in the bible. The gospel is on full display in every passage. This week I will be covering one of the most well known verses in all of Scripture:

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. -Romans 8:28

As I previously stated, it is one of the most well known verses in the Bible, but I must add, it is also one of the least understood verses as well. The reason why I believe this verse is so misunderstood is because we fail to look at it in context. In verse 29 we read this:

For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. -Romans 8:29

In verse 29 I believe that Paul is describing what “good” means in verse 28. When Paul writes that “all things work together for the good” he is talking about the fact that God is at work in our lives for the specific purpose of conforming us into the image of Jesus Christ.

So, how is it possible that a promise like this can actually end up making us miserable? Let me explain. Many times we will associate God being good to us when he makes our circumstances in life better. For example:

I got the promotion, God is good.

I ‘m no longer sick, God is good.

I got into the college of my dreams, God is good.

I’m getting married, God is good.

My kids are doing well in school, God is good.

My depression and anxiety have eased up, God is good.

Paul’s point in Romans 8:28-29 is that God’s primary way of revealing his goodness to us is not by making life more pleasant but by using the good and bad stuff of everyday life to make us more like Jesus. When we fail to understand this important biblical truth we become angry, cynical, depressed, impatient and distant towards God because he is not doing what we want him to do. We need to be reminded that God is not aiming for our comfort, he is aiming for our heart. God wants to change us more than he wants to change our circumstances.

One final thought. Having our circumstances improve can only, at best, make us temporarily happy. As Augustine pointed out a long time ago, the stuff of this world can not fill up the gaping hole in our heart. God is working to make us more like Christ and he knows that this is also the pathway to our deepest satisfaction, contentment and joy.

Your Understanding Of God’s Goodness Is Making You Miserable

We have this tendency to evaluate God’s goodness based on the circumstances of life. If life is going fairly well then we conclude that God is good. If we are going through a difficult time then we might begin doubting the goodness of God. I want to strongly encourage you to watch this 5 minute video clip from Sam Allberry as he preaches from Romans 5:8, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

In this sermon, Sam is telling us an incredibly important truth. The very best thing that God can do for us is to help us become more like his Son Jesus Christ. God’s goodness is not demonstrated primarily through success, health, happiness, etc. God’s goodness is revealed by the fact that he is using the good and bad stuff of life to transform us into the image of Christ.

  • Do you believe that God is being good to you during the difficult times of life? If not, you need to know that it will be nearly impossible for you to experience joy and contentment. And if you have a hard time seeing God in the hard times you might be believing in a soft version of the prosperity gospel and are not even aware of it.
  • What do you desire most in life? Is it for your circumstances to get better or is it for God to transform you into the image of his Son, Jesus Christ? We know the right answer. But what does your heart want the most?

Would love to hear your thoughts and ideas! Feel free to leave a comment.