Hope, Tribulation, and Prayer

>> Saturday, October 22, 2011

Romans 12 provides us with one of scripture’s clearest pictures of practical Christ-like living. We see scripture’s exhortation to live a life marked with action. I believe a healthy understanding and practice of these things help us “put to death” the old self and actively “put on” the new self, helps us in the practice of “setting our minds on things above”, helps our transformation by the “renewing of our minds”, helps us to “do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus”.

Here is what scripture teaches us in Romans 12:9-13:
• Allow love to be genuine
• Utterly detest evil and hold on to what is good
• Love the body with brotherly affection
• Excel in showing honor
Activate zeal and show intensity in spirit in service to God
Rejoice in hope, patient in tribulation, constant in prayer
• Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek opportunities for hospitality

"...We take this opportunity to break from your previously scheduled programming for this very specific announcement..."  I sorta hear this in my head as I think through the next portion of our study of Romans 12.  As I look over this call to Christ-likeness - to "...rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer" I am brought to the realization that in just a couple of days, one of the greatest moments of my and Jennifer's life will occur - the birth of our sweet little girl!  Thinking about the greatness of this blessing and the journey we've been on to come to this point in our life, I'm humbled by the greatness of God.

As husband and wife, we certainly rejoice in hope.  Early in our journey through infertility and our growing desire of involvement in adoption/orphan care, Jennifer and I held Romans 8:25 close to our hearts - "...if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience."  It is the truth of these words and the soothing therapy that the context of Romans 8 provides that has led us to give our little girl the middle name Hope.

We are encouraged by how God has directed our journey toward greater appreciation and adoration of Him.  I'm sure that the lessons learned along our journey and the molding that God has done within my own life during our wait, will lead me to be a better father.  As I understand God and His Word more and more, I realize how important the process of sanctification and maturity is in the life of a believer.  We are image-bearers of who God is and what He is doing to restore and redeem His creation.  As we welcome this beautiful little girl into our lives - and when I look into the eyes of God's creation...this little girl created in His image - I know that I will be compelled to lead my family to greater adoration of our great God, Creator, Father, Savior, Shepherd, King.

I know within our journey, the ability to be patient in tribulation has always been in direct proportion to our resolve to rejoice in hope and our devotion to be constant in prayer.  It's no coincidence that we are to embody all three of these things, because I'm not sure it's possible to do one apart from them all.  As with everything in our Christian life we are to be all-in, totally surrendered to Christ.

Think about these words from Oswald Chambers:

"A person who has the vision of God is not devoted to a cause or to any particular issue— he is devoted to God Himself. You always know when the vision is of God because of the inspiration that comes with it. Things come to you with greatness and add vitality to your life because everything is energized by God...

'Though it tarries, wait for it...(Habakkuk 2:3)'  The proof that we have the vision is that we are reaching out for more than we have already grasped. It is a bad thing to be satisfied spiritually. The psalmist said, 'What shall I render to the Lord...? I will take up the cup of salvation...(Psalm 116:12-13)'.  We are apt to look for satisfaction within ourselves and say, 'Now I’ve got it! Now I am completely sanctified. Now I can endure.' Instantly we are on the road to ruin. Our reach must exceed our grasp. Paul said, 'Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on...(Philippians 3:12)'.  If we have only what we have experienced, we have nothing. But if we have the inspiration of the vision of God, we have more than we can experience."

I'm compelled to seek satisfaction in the vision of God, the inspiration that comes with it.  This is a necessity to live out my capacity to adore God, to live out my capacity to be a Godly father, to live out my calling to live a life that labels me a Christian.

When our reach exceeds our grasp, we will find ourselves labelled as "Christian".  It will be provided us, we will have no need to proclaim to others that we are Christians - the world will know.

Reaching beyond my grasp,

:: Other posts in this series on "Christ-Likeness" from Romans 12 ::


Jennifer October 23, 2011 at 9:39 PM  

Very well said David. I will be praying as you both prepare to meet your sweet baby girl! You will certainly know a love like none other!

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