Summary: When wegive our life to Christ, we no longer need to fear a purposeless existance. God gives us purpose for our lives.
When I was a little boy, I was much like other little boys, there were certain things that made me afraid. When my mom placed me in my room at night, I was sure that there were monsters on the back side of my bed. The way my room was configured, my bed was about 1-1/2 feet from the wall on the left side and there was a window there. It was the perfect set up for a monster to climb into that window and hide in that small space behind my bed. Then, when the lights went out that monster had the perfect chance to claim me as their hapless victim. I know for 3 or 4 years I slept so close to the right side of my bed that one arm hung over the side. To this day, my right arm is several inches longer than my left. If I heard a bump, zoom, I was out of the bed and into mom and dad’s room.
During that time, I remember a recurring dream of someone chasing me. I was running but in slow motion. Something or someone was right behind me and it was obvious that they were going to catch me. I was in slow motion, they were flying. I would wake up breathing heavy, heart racing, scared to death!
But over the course of time, I grew out of those fears. By my teen years I wasn’t afraid of some monster. I was more afraid of what my peers thought of me. I was afraid they wouldn’t accept me. The more I think about it, the more I realize that throughout life, the things you fear shifts. While your nightmares as a child are about monsters and ghouls, as a person in mid-40s it might be that you will have lived your whole life and never accomplish what you had hoped as an idealistic twenty-something. In your 70s you are thinking about who will take care of you when you can’t take care of yourself. What is it that you are afraid of in the stage of your life you are in right now? (pause)
Honestly, there is a whole lot of fear beneath what Paul writes in Romans 8. Now understand what I mean by that. Paul is addressing the fears of his Christian readers. He is saying "There is good news for those who are Christians!" He tells us we don’t have to be afraid of God’s wrath, because "there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." He has comforted us by telling us about the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit. You don’t have to be afraid of wandering aimlessly through life, you have a friend and guide. You don’t have to live hopelessly because in Christ you always have hope. And this morning in verses 26-30 he wants us to recognize that if we are in Christ, we are plugged into God’s purpose. Paul challenges us to not be cowards, but to live life with boldness, confident that God has a destiny for us, and assured that He is working to direct us toward His ultimate purpose for our life.
(Read Romans 8:26-30)
Now I realize that this passage is deep water theologically. There are a lot of pretty heavy words and concepts in these verses. And honestly it would be easy to get pulled under by the weight of the many unanswered theological questions. But if that happens, we’ve missed Paul’s point. This passage was written to serve as a lifejacket, a few words of assurance to carry us through the times when the swirling torrents of life threaten to drag us down. Out of these verses this morning we need to notice 4 reasons that Paul tells us not to be afraid.
1. You Are Not On Your Own.
Honestly, when I look back at the prayers I have lifted up in my past, often they were pretty lame. I go through spells when I write out my prayers, and I have looked back at my prayers 10 years ago, and they scare me. I asked for things that honestly it would have been bad if I had gotten them. They seemed important to me at the time. I had relatively pure motives in asking for them. But because I am human, limited in my capacity to know the future, or even much about the present, my prayers were faulty. I thank God He hasn’t always given me what I wanted.
But Paul says that we don’t have to be afraid to pray. We don’t have to fear that God is going to mess up and give us something we shouldn’t have. (Read vv. 26-27) The Holy Spirit, God Himself who takes up residence in our life, is interceding on our behalf before the throne of God. Our prayers are not subject to our own limitations.