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When You've Been Good and Life Goes Bad

True followers of Jesus will have troubles, and they will endure.


God's Word teaches us there are three sources of trouble in our lives. Number one is the most general and most often experienced: You and I live in a fallen place among a fallen race, so trouble happens. I have a friend who says if we only knew how desperately wrenching the fall of man was, we would be surprised anything good happens at all. With that perspective, any time something good does happen, we recognize it's God's grace and lift our hearts to thank him for a little relief in the midst of a tough world.

The second source of trouble is self-inflicted. The trouble comes because we choose to sin, and we reap the consequences of those choices. As Paul wrote in the New Testament: If a man sows to the flesh, he will reap the corruption of the flesh.

But there's a third, and it's the one I want to talk about now, because it's in this kind of trouble that followers of Jesus are most vulnerable. It's the kind of trouble that comes when you've been good and life goes bad. Some people think if they come to Christ and start following him, he will carry them home on flowery beds of ease. But then life gets in their face, and it's confusing. I'm a follower of Jesus. How could this possibly happen to me?

You start following Jesus, and two of your best friends bail on you. Maybe as a wife you say, "I'm going to get a grip on being a godly wife," and you make commitments about being supportive and cooperative and gracious and a team player and doing what God would have you do in your relationship with your husband. So you start living that out, and it gets worse at home. You start living for Jesus at the office. You don't play those games any more, and you're straight for him on contracts and relationships; and you miss ...

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Joseph Stowell is president of Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and author of numerous books, including Jesus Nation (Tyndale).

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Sermon Outline:


Jesus was good, yet was crucified.

I. Jesus knows your trouble.

II. Jesus knows your poverty.

III. Jesus knows your enemies.

IV. Jesus says, "Do not fear."

V. Jesus says, "Be faithful."


Heaven is waiting for us.