This morning I tried to focus on simply one passage, but I just cannot seem to do it. As I read the verse, all I could think of was God’s power and grace. The original passage was Romans 8:38-39.
Romans 8:38-39 (ESV) 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
I read that passage and was so encouraged by this love and power of God and His love for me. But all I could think of was, “Ok, what else is he trying to tell me. This is great but there has to be more to it.” So I worked my way backward and started at the end of chapter 7. There Paul talks about the battle between the flesh and the Spirit.
In Romans 8:9-11 he reminds me who I am… but he does through a couple “if-then” statements in there just to give me pause.
Romans 8:9-11 (ESV)
9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
I read this passage and give thanks to God. I was not always certain that this described me. It was a difficult thing to get my head around. But now I give thanks for all this promise. I still struggle. Paul talks about his struggles all through God’s Word; even the end of chapter 7 speaks of his personal battle. But you know I take great comfort in knowing that Paul was not perfect. He was a man who faced the same challenges I do, and in many ways, they were much worse. He went so far as to ask us not to worry about his struggles in Ephesians.
Ephesians 3:13 (ESV) 13 So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory.
He asks us not to lose heart over what he suffers and then prays for us.
Ephesians 3:14-21 (ESV) Prayer for Spiritual Strength
14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
He prays for us and reminds us from where our strength comes. The Spirt he also spoke of in Romans 8.
That brings me back to the close of Romans 8 and the strength we have in the gift of the Holy Spirit. The passage is so moving for me. It shakes me to the bone when I think of all God has done for me.
Romans 8:31-39 (ESV) 31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
When I think of what God has done to rescue me, how can I ever doubt His commitment to me? I have no sane choice but to give Him my all.
You know every day is fraught with challenges and trials. Some are small and even silly when we look back on them. But some are significant, like real loss of a loved one. The thing is when I look back on even the worst of trials I now can see that He was there, even when I denied Him or took Him for granted. His patience with me is beyond me, but I am so thankful for it.
Father thank you for you Holy Word and promise. Help me that I may never lose sight of the price you were willing to pay for me. Thank you, Father, for reminding me that your power and grace cannot be overcome.
Help me stay close to you in lock step with every thought and desire.
In Jesus name, I pray, Amen!