Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NIV Here are some distinguishing marks of a spirit-filled life—joy, prayer, and thanksgiving. Notice Paul has already been speaking about love: “Hold them in the highest regard...
One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!” Luke 23:39 (NIV)
One of the two criminals who was crucified with Christ speaks in the last hours of his life. He is completely lost, completely helpless, and he’s still angry with God.
You can almost feel this man’s hostility toward Christ… “If you’re God, why don’t you do something?” Suffering doesn’t always make people more tender. Sometimes it brings out the worst in us. Pain can even intensify a sinner’s hatred toward God.
Don’t underestimate how much the human heart hates God. What do we find on the last day when God’s judgments are poured out? Do we see sinners repenting? No. We find sinners calling out to the rocks, “Fall on us” (Revelation 6:16). “We’d rather die than bow before you!”
Sin is a mighty power that grips the human soul. Apart from the grace of Jesus Christ, none of us will ever get free from it. Under the judgment of the law for crimes against society, this man would soon face the judgment of God. Still he is raging against God. It is the story of his life.
But it doesn’t have to be the story of your life. You may have hated God. You may hate God today, but God does not hate you. The Savior loves you, and he is reaching out to you right now. Come to him in repentance. Bind yourself to him in faith. Let him lead you into a new life. God is ready to forgive you.
Are you angry with God? Are you relieved to know that this doesn’t have to be the story of your life? Are you ready for that story to change? If it already has, reflect on the change in your attitude toward God.