What's Going On?

Did you ever get to the point in your life where you just couldn't figure out what was happening to you? You thought you were doing everything right, but the results you were getting was far from what you expected. Have you ever cried out to God asking, "What's going on?" or something to that effect? Here is a possible answer to to that question. Romans 8:29. Most believers have memorized Romans 8:28, and use it often to cast our circumstances in a better light. The usual take on this verse is that, no matter how bad things are right now, God will turn it around for our good. However, there is a BIG condition attached..."for those who are called according to His purpose." What follows in verse 29 is often overlooked. "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." The mental image that I get when I read that takes me back to when I used to see my Mom getting ready to sew a dress. She would lay out a piece of cloth on the bed. Then she would lay a pattern on the cloth and pin it. Finally, she would take scissors and cut away all the cloth that protruded out from the pattern. Thus the cloth was "conformed to the image" of the pattern.
That's what Paul is saying in verse 29. God lays Jesus (the pattern) on us. Then every thing that sticks out must be cut away in order for us to be "conformed to His image". As with any analogy, this falls somewhat short, but it does give us a picture of God's intention and activity in our lives once we have received Christ. The things in our lives that do not conform to the image of Jesus, must be cut away. This "spiritual surgery" can be painful.
The next time you're going through a painful experience, perhaps one question your should ask is, "Did I bring this on myself, or is God at work conforming me to the image of Jesus?" You may find that on the other side of the painful experience you are more Christ-like. And that is all a part of His plan for you.

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