Summary: Prayer is a tough subject. The problem is our prayers are very superficial for the most part...We don’t often consider if the point of the glimpse into the Garden is to show us that the best human effort from the holiest Man who ever lived even tends towa
Romans 8:26-39 (The Message)
Romans 8:37 - No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
“Overcome” – at first glance one might feel this presentation promises to be boring. The word is not going to make the “top ten” countdown of favorite words in anyone’s vocabulary!
The word is not ‘in vogue’ or ‘hotness’ (cool) but the desire certainly is. Overcome is defined as “to get the better of in a struggle or conflict” (dictionary.com) Who has not wanted to ace an exam, pass the road test, get a good physical report from the doctor or beat cancer? Who has not had something in their lives that they felt “I have “to get the better” of this situation? I have to overcome.
Our Bible text, verse 37, speaks in similar language. It talks about being “more than conquerors” (NIV), or having “overwhelming victory” (NLT) or how about this one: “None of this fazes us” (MSG)?
Sometimes it seems like Bible people were not real people. They talked a language that appears very foreign in our day. There are a lot of things that faze me. Are there things that faze you? Singing artist, Amanda Marshall, released a CD in 2002 called Everybody’s Got a Story”. Let me wave my disclaimer! I do not encourage you to run out and buy her music unless you have a taste for offensive content, this song included. There is one verse though that is worth repeating.
Now who can read the mind
Of the red-headed girl next door
Or the taxi driver who just dropped you off
Or the classmate that you ignore
Don’t assume everything on the surface is what you see
’Cause that classmate just lost her mother
And that taxi-driver’s got a Ph.D.
Everybody’s got a story that’ll break your heart…
How do you tell them to overcome? Better yet, the nagging question is how do I overcome? St. Paul lists in verses 38-39 the concerns that people were facing with this challenge to overcome: trouble, hard times, hatred, hunger, homelessness, bullying threats, backstabbing, and many other sins.
During my undergraduate studies some years ago, I interviewed a lady whose religious belief was a hybrid of different religions. She spoke of trying to climb to a higher consciousness as her spiritual guide (which was an apparition that looked like an embryo with thousands of tentacles protruding from its form) led her to deeper awareness of life and self.
Glenys took part in the interview with me, since she had several opportunities to sit in this woman’s home and share fruit juice together on previous occasions! We asked our questions and explored this fascinating woman. When we left my heart was troubled and filled with questions. We watched this woman on a few occasions as she exhibited a wonderfully gentle spirit, amazing patience and seemed to reflect a deep joy-filled attitude toward life and every breathing microcosm.
My story? Many experiences of stress, moods, anger, and impatience. I am ashamed to say it. I walked away questioning, “If I have the answer in Jesus, why does she seem happier than me?”
Get the better of struggle and conflict.
Live so that nothing fazes you.
How do I do that? Today’s Bible reading provides the answers! If you want to overcome, if you long for something higher than your current mediocre, bland, boring, unfulfilling life, this message is for you!
If you have a great or decent relationship with God but the unexpected trips you at your doorstep, this message is for you!
There are three simple lessons that tell us how we can overcome!
1. The Holy Spirit helps us Romans 8:26-27
One thing I discovered about why I have the answer and the lady I mentioned had the joy, was the place my sin nature has in my faith. This is not a reference to ‘sins’ which means things we do that we should not do; but ‘sin’ meaning an inbred nature, a part of us that we were born with. That side of us pushes us toward those things and behaviours that conflict with the other part of us that wants to listen to God. St. Paul talks about the conflict in his own struggle in Romans 7 – doing things he’d rather not doing and failing to do what he knows he should do.
Last week Glenys walked us through the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians chapter 5. As we pick up in verse 16 we’re told, “The old sinful nature loves to do evil which is just opposite from what the Holy Spirit wants.” (v 17) Then there follows a list of things the evil nature wants to do versus what God’s nature within us wants us to do and the human spirit becomes a war zone all the time as we struggle to make the right choices.