Scripture: 31 What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? 33 Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. 35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all day long; we are accounted 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 convinced 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.
Observation: Paul is explaining how nothing in heaven or on earth can come between us and the love of God in Christ Jesus. Great! However, I also notice that the obstacles Paul lists are external rather than internal. That has me thinking this morning.
Application: The obstacles of faith I wrestle with tend to be internal in nature: things like doubt and disobedience, fear and confusion, lack of empathy, impatience, or just plain spiritual laziness.
I was recently having lunch with a group of area pastors. Over the course of our conversation one of them pointed out that, in a community like ours, people tend to be complacent. Our neighbors aren’t rich and powerful, but we’re closer to the “1%” than we’d care to admit. As such, in our little suburb, there is little urgency to break away from what already is. Why embrace life transforming discipleship when things are pretty good?
I nodded my head along with everyone else perceiving we were talking about “those people”. You know, those outside of our local churches. But then I realized the conversation was really about me. I’m often the one who’s complacent, who prefers doing things my own way rather than following the Lord. It was a humbling moment of self-awareness.
Those were the thoughts going through my mind this morning as I read this passage. I was feeling rather convicted when I noticed a kernel of hope in v.31. “If God is for us, who is against us?”
The “who” in my case is… me. Far more than any external factor, I get in my own way. So this morning I am claiming my lack of faith before the Lord. Trying harder to be faithful hasn’t worked, so I’m throwing myself at the mercy of God. It’s the only hope I have. But I”m pretty sure it’s all the hope I need.
Prayer: Forgive me Father for I have sinned. Restore me, refresh me, renew me for Jesus’ sake. Amen.