(Romans 8:26) “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”
There are times when I just don’t know what I should pray. I’ve been in situations and circumstances when I am at a loss for expressing words to the Lord. I’ve had times when sadness overwhelms to the point where I couldn’t even express myself to God. Have you been there before? In the context of this verse, Paul, a man bound in a Roman prison is describing suffering, faith and hope. We patiently wait for the Lord to deliver his creation from suffering. We don’t see that hope. We don’t always know how to express ourselves in the light of the hope we don’t see. As we go through the suffering, we aren’t always sure what our prayer should be. Sometimes we just don’t know.
But just as the Lord gives us hope to help us patiently wade through our sufferings, He also provides an Intercessor on our behalf. Our fear doesn’t stop the movement of God. Our doubts don’t stop the sure workings of His mercy. Our loss for words never keeps the God of the Word silent. The fervency of God on our behalf goes beyond anything we could ever imagine. The expression of God to Himself on our behalf defies comprehension. In the loneliness of our suffering, when we can’t even mouth the words to express the sadness, the Holy Spirit is there to express those things our humanity can’t.
Renewed Thought – Even when the suffering makes it impossible to pray, God makes it sure that prayer is never impossible.
(Rom 8:19) “For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.”
Have you ever been to the opening night performance of a play or musical? Recently, my oldest daughter was one of the lead actors in the musical “Meet Me In St. Louis.” For months the cast practiced long hours. At the same time, the sets were built and the costumes were tailored. The excitement and anticipation built as our family became involved (consumed?) in helping with various needs. The week leading up to the opening night was filled with dress rehearsals. But these rehearsals were “closed.” That meant I wasn’t allowed to watch as the finishing touches were put on the performance. Because I never saw the completed product, I attended opening night as an excited parent and spectator. I can’t tell you how awesome it was to see the curtain finally drawn back and the finished sets, costumes and actors put on a display that was great beyond words.
Today, we are the finished work of Christ! Today, we live in a body that covers the glorious work of God in our spirit and soul. Our outer shell experiences suffering as it faces the effects of a fallen creation. But the real you, the part of you that has been made complete in Christ, stands behind a veil waiting for that moment when God will throw open the curtain and put us on display as the new creation without the shroud of pain and suffering. Live for that “opening night” and focus on what is “behind the curtain.” It’s the eager anticipation of what is coming that helps us through this dress rehearsal we call “life.”
Renewed Thought – Who is on center-stage in your life today – you or Christ?
(Romans 8:10) “And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.”
In 1978 singer Billy Joel released a song that had a melody that just stayed in my head for weeks. The title of the song was “My Life.” It was the theme song to the television series “Bosom Buddies” (with a really young Tom Hanks). All but a few of the lyrics were memorable. The one line that sticks out even today goes like this – “I don’t care what you say anymore, this is my life.” If you remember the song too, you probably remember the emphasis on the word my.
We’re taught to “live life to its fullest.” We’re encouraged to live with “no fear” and “without regrets.” A while back, Nike told us to “just do it.’ Henry David Thoreau wrote, “I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life…” We feel we are missing out on something if we don’t sample everything. Students across college campuses today are living a life thinking that fulfillment comes from filling up their past with experiences. Young adults just out of high school believe their maturity is based on what they’ve done. These students are then translated into middle aged adults who still search for that fulfillment. This is the definition of life for most people. We are led to live in a way that says, “This is my life.”
Christ redefines all of this for us. The world’s definition of fulfillment is shown to be empty when we truly experience Christ in us. He is our fulfillment. After we experience the reality of the cross, what we do has real purpose and divine direction. It is at this point we come to the great realization that the “Spirit is life.” The word “life” in this verse is a noun. It is something. The Holy Spirit gives meaning to that something. My life and your life become defined by Him. We are no longer the sum total decider of what is meaningful and what holds purpose. Death is an adjective describing the true state of the flesh. Yes, He defines life because we are declared righteous. Our identity is provided for us. It is not something we need to search out, discover, or provide for ourselves. His life is now our life. This is the definition of life for the Christian.
Renewed Thought – The greatest relief you can have is to realize you don’t have to fulfill or define your own life. Allow God to do it for you and you will experience the greatest sense of fulfillment and purpose possible.