Even As I Have Been Fully Known: March 06 (Romans 8:11-25)

Romans 8:11-25

If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

It is painful to want something and not have it.  It is so hard to sit in that feeling.  And the world tells us that there’s something shameful or pathetic about wanting and not having--that it must be your fault.  You didn’t try hard enough, weren’t good enough, didn’t deserve it.  So, we learn to shut down our longings, numb our pain, pretend the want isn’t there.  We choose to believe we are satisfied with less than we dreamed of.

It is so easy to do this with our longing for God and for his kingdom.  The world is so broken, and it is so hard to be in it and believe his promises and wait.  Sometimes it can seem like it would be easier to just turn it off--want less, be satisfied with what this world has to offer.  We zone out and settle for what we can see, telling ourselves that it’s good enough and we can’t expect more anyway.

Romans 8 tells us that the whole creation is groaning.  It is wanting.  It is longing and not yet having.  “Hope” can seem like such a sweet, easy word--but hope is so hard.  It means keeping your longing alive, stoking the flame even though it is painful to want and not yet have.

Romans calls us to fan the flame.  The world will try to convince you to be happy with less than God, less than his kingdom.  Spend time imagining, dreaming of the day we’ll be with him completely, in his presence, basking in it, no more sin, no more struggle, no more pain.  Believe that it is true, and spend time meditating on it.  Let yourself want it.  In a while, you’ll have to step into the world, broken and hurting, and wait.  And it will hurt.  But don’t let that make you afraid to want and groan for what we have been promised.  Your longing draws you to him.  It stretches you.  It grows your capacity to taste his goodness, to receive him, to look upon him in complete worship.  If our present sufferings are truly not worth comparing to the glory to be revealed, we’ve got to dream about it--that we might cling to it and hope in it completely.  This groaning will make the day we step into his presence so much sweeter than we can imagine.

Considered, written in part, and arranged by Lauren Wrenn