Knee Jerk Devotional: March 18, 2021

Romans 8:12-28

Passage:

So don't you see that we don't owe this old do-it-yourself life one red cent. There's nothing in it for us, nothing at all. The best thing to do is give it a decent burial and get on with your new life. God's Spirit beckons. There are things to do and places to go!

This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It's adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike "What's next, Papa?" God's Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what's coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we're certainly going to go through the good times with him!

That's why I don't think there's any comparison between the present hard times and the coming good times. The created world itself can hardly wait for what's coming next. Everything in creation is being more or less held back. God reins it in until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead. Meanwhile, the joyful anticipation deepens.

All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it's not only around us; it's within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We're also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don't see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.

Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God's Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don't know how or what to pray, it doesn't matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That's why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.

God's Spirit beckons. There are things to do and places to go! This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It's adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike "What's next, Papa?" God's Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are.

How good is that?

The NIV renders those verses (14-15) like this: For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”

Peterson’s translation here again draws out the heart of the passage in my opinion. He’s getting at what Paul is communicating.

In other words: LET’S GO!!!!

Life is meant to be lived. It’s not meant to be trapped inside the four walls of a church building. We are not to look out our doors and be afraid of the waiting world. No, the Spirit beckons us, “Come on! Come out here! The adventure awaits!”

There is so much good and beauty and wonder in the world. As we follow Christ we are going on an adventure into resurrection life. This life is full of mystery and wonder and joy. It’s hard and painful and we may suffer at times. But, the hardships make the journey that much more sweet.

Following Christ helps us discover who we really are as beloved ones.

Have you ever spent time around someone who is totally comfortable in their own skin? Isn’t it amazing how free they are to live life? They laugh and smile easy. In the midst of struggle and pain these folks are able to hold on to hope. Why? Because they have a clear sense of who they are.

On this adventure with Christ, over and over again our identity as one loved by the Creator will be confirmed.

When we know we are loved without condition we are free.
When we believe we are loved with condition we are imprisoned.

This love of Christ, this resurrection life, this Spirit of Christ, calls us to a deep knowledge that we are indeed loved without condition. God cannot love us more and will not love us less.

So what are we waiting for?

Let’s go live.
Let’s stop worrying about what others think.
Let’s embrace ourselves as beloved ones.
Let’s enjoy the adventure that the Spirit beckons us into.

I love this last stanza from the hymn, In Christ Alone:

No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me
From life's first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand
Till He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand.

I would change that last line to, “Here in the power of Christ I go.” But, I get it, it doesn’t rhyme. That’s why I’m not a songwriter.

“No guilt in life, no fear in death, this is the power of Christ in me.”

Friends, “God's Spirit beckons. There are things to do and places to go! This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It's adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike "What's next, Papa?" God's Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are.”

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