A Painful Process

A Painful Process

Romans Chapter 12 is a wonderful book of the Bible where God uses Paul to tell Christians about:
  • Giving ourselves as a worshipful living sacrifice to God (v 1).
  • Being changed from worldliness to godliness while demonstrating the perfection of God’s desires (v 2). 
  • Serving God and others by the appropriate use of the faith and gifts He has given to all of us (both individually and corporately) (vs 3 – 8).
  • Conducting our lives (thoughts, desires, words and deeds) in a way that honors God and blesses others (vs 9-21).
 
Although this section of scripture is not all-inclusive with regards to describing all the blessings, promises, expectations, requirements, etc. that come along with salvation in Jesus Christ (that only comes from the entirety of scripture and the guidance of the Holy Spirit), it is a great example of the clear and pointed language God uses to communicate what He desires and expects from us. Additionally, as with all scripture, God’s Word gives the rest of the world a standard by which to judge Christians.

Recently, a verse from the middle of this chapter really challenged me.
  • Romans 12:12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer;
 
 
Why was this verse so convicting? In ten words (NKJV), God spoke volumes to me about:
  • My Attitude ('rejoicing in hope')
    • In Christ, I should be cheerfully and expectantly celebrating the coming fulfillment of promises and prophecy from the one and only sovereign God who loves me more than I can comprehend (2 Corinthians 4:17, Hebrews 10:23)
  • My Actions ('patient in tribulation')
    • Because my life is built upon the immovable Rock of Christ, those around me (especially my family) should seek, observe and find peace and perseverance in and though me regardless of the circumstances that challenge us (Matthew 7:24-25, Romans 5:1-5).
  • My Appeals ('continuing steadfastly in prayer')
    • As I abide in Christ, and He in me, I should be in constant communion with Him; not just asking, but seeking, listening, worshipping, learning and changing (John 15:5, 1 Thessalonians 5:17, Psalm 46:10, 1 John 5:14).
Guilt, shame and sorrow preoccupy a mind that should be overflowing with joy, thanksgiving and anticipation. Praise be to God that my salvation rest upon His perfection, not mine. Yet the peace that I desire and that He has promised is found only within the glorious balance of His grace, mercy, love, and patience, and my submission, obedience, gratitude, and humility (oh the infinite complexities that arise when the simplistic truths of sovereignty and free will collide in one’s life). Sanctification can be a painful process!

Prayer

Father, I believe the anguish I am experiencing is the result of the unavoidable purging process that must occur when the perfection of Your Word and Spirit encounter the fallen nature of your child’s flesh. I trust Your wisdom and timing. But I also beg You to bring a silver lining of peace to the dark clouds that shadow my mind. Thank You for the purity of Your Word and the perfection of Your Work. May my light shine for Your glory. In Christ’s name I pray, Amen.