Is it really worth it? Is the inheritance Christians have been given worth all the hardships and heartache of living as a child of God in this life? Many people answer no. They profess faith as a Christian, and seek to live God’s way for awhile but in time, they find that their present sufferings are not worth it, and they fall away.
But Paul answers the question with an emphatic yes! In fact, Romans 8:18 says, “Our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Paul is saying, “If you know where your future lies, you won’t entertain the idea that your current problems and pain aren’t worth it.”
So what is this glorious inheritance? Romans 8:19-23. There is a glory coming that is so blindingly powerful that when it falls upon us, it will envelop the whole created order and glorify it along with us. We will bring nature into us a renewed, restored, redeemed reality.
Another common obstacle to prayer is an enslavement to “feeling.”
“I don’t feel like it.”
They assume that prayers are only efficacious when they rise from an eager and emotional heart. We should keep our appointment with God, whether we feel like it or not. The meek submission of our will deepens our surrender; our resolution to engage in prayer strengthens thought control.
Faith, not feeling, measures the efficacy of prayer.
There are many obstacles to having a strong prayer life and none more employed and observed than the lack of time or busy-ness. It’s a shallow obstacle because we clearly find time for less important things–entertainment and friends. We rarely use that excuse meaningfully to excuse our lack of time spent with those closest to us. Christ stole time from his sleep to pray. Just begin with 15 minutes/day and try to grow that over time.
In Romans 8:15, Paul distinguishes between two ways in which we can approach the Christian life.
- A Slave.
- A Son.
It is possible, having trusted Christ to make us righteous, to have the spirit of a slave again, to return to an attitude of performance-based acceptability, acting as if God’s blessing is maintained or increased by our work.
A child of God is never afraid of being “fined.” A parent/child relationship is based on unconditional love, not performance standards.
The “Spirit of Sonship” that Paul speak of is, therefore, an ability that the Holy Spirit gives us to approach God as a father instead of as a boss or slavemaster.
A slave obeys under compulsion, because they have to. A son obeys out of love and joy in “daddy.”
A slave works under the threat of loss or “payback.” A son is disciplined to loving instruct, not retribution.
A slave is insecure because if he slips up…. A son is secure because his father will forgive him.
A slave concentrates on external behavior. A son concentrates on attitudes and relationships.
A slave has to work but given no honor. A son is honored and invited to join the work.
We can only stand our ground in life after being swept off our feet by God. And something like that should happen in worship.
I’m not talking the “Wizard of Oz.” God didn’t summon Isaiah to His throne to scare the…Stamina out of him. Rather, God calls us to worship, and there wants to display His might because He knows we’ll face things in which we need to act mightily.
Ephesians 4:16b, “The whole body is held and joined together by every supporting ligament…as each part does its work.”
We have a deep obligation to one another. Everyone in the Church must do their part. Each has a calling and gifts to use for the body to work.
This runs against the grain of our culture’s individualism and the Church’s over-emphasis on a “personal” relationship with Christ. A relationship with Christ is important but the Bible doesn’t teach that faith is just about Jesus and me. We are a part of the body of Christ! We are His presence now on earth as His Spirit lives within us and among us (Ephesians 2:22).
…our plans don’t go as planned and we are forced to make a decision:
complain, grumble, ask why?
pray and find an alternative plan.
That’s when God steps in, when we DEPEND on Him. When we depend in our own plans why should He step in?