Summary: As we take on the attributes of Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit it is good, we understand that it is good, no matter what may hit us!
An old friend of mine I’ll call him ‘T’ occasionally sends me texts by mistake, this happens roughly once every few months. This I think happens because my name will be at the top of his phone list, my name starting with ‘A’. This also happened with another old work mate when I was working in the Electrical industry, but he would ring always at night and every time his voice was strangely slurred.
Back to ‘T’ though, I got a text from him on Tuesday asking if I could do a job for him installing a temporary power supply. My text response was, “sure if you pay mileage”, the job was some four hundred kilometres distant. Next thing was the phone rang and I had a chat with ‘T’. As you do I asked how Christmas and the New Year went for him. The reply was “well not good”; both his parents were in hospital his Dads out now, he went on to say “actually while you are asking 2009 was not a good year as my mother in law passed away and we had a few dramas to sort out, here’s hoping that 2010 lines up to be a better one!”
Yip, some times for all of us, life provides us with some real problems. I can recall times and I’m sure a good number of you can, when life throws more obstacles at you than you can dodge. Already today some of you have mentioned to me some of the obstacles that have hit you during the week.
Those are likely to be the times when some cheery soul will approach you and say with a whooping great smile upon their face, real encouraging like, “It will be OK, all things work together for good, for those who love the Lord.”
It’s great to get such choice words of encouragement, and in reply you could probably think of a few choice words of your own.
This passage that they have spoken forth with such wisdom is similar to that written by the apostle Paul, a man who had encountered many events in his life that would have left him knowing the truth of his own writing. Paul a man who had, five times received forty lashes minus one. Three times was beaten with rods, once he was stoned (which at that time involved stones), three times he was ship wrecked, he spent a night and a day in the open sea. He spent his life constantly on the move, often in danger. If you want to know more of his trials and sufferings, read second Corinthians eleven.
Think of this, if you were to compare two trees, one that had grown straight and true in a forest or one that had grown exposed to the ravishes of the wind on a sea cliff, which one would have the most character?
God is interested in our character and Paul was a man of character!
This man, this man of skin and bone penned these words, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
What Paul understood of his life was that he no longer just lived in the flesh but that he lived in the Spirit also! He was being transformed into the likeness of Christ, no matter what happened in the past, and Paul had a past, he knew that his life was right with God that he was justified with God. You’ve heard Rochelle and I use the statement that Justified means, “Just as if I’d never sinned”. Paul had this assurance he was in a right relationship with God.
When we enter into a relationship with Jesus, when we live for the Christ it is our calling to be like Jesus. God has a reason for this, as Paul states it is so that Jesus “might be the first born among many brothers.” (Romans 8:29b) With the help of the Holy Spirit we are on a journey to become like Jesus.
Please remember that this is not exclusive to the male of the species.
Well over the next few weeks we will look further into what this life in the Spirit is about and how God travels with us on that journey.
In the mean time let’s look at this verse again.
1) Romans 8:28: And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
You may say, ‘What do you mean by that, what about the broken arm, the sickness over Christmas, the redundancy, the unexpected death?”
Well I don’t want to be a total ball of unhappiness, but the truth of the matter is us humans are mortal – our bodies are totally corruptible, we get sick, we hurt, we fall apart, our emotions are challenged, egos bruised, ideals confused, we get stressed. We have our first ancestors to thank for that!