Two weeks ago, I shared with you that I have Lupus. I gotta tell you, it wasn’t an easy road to get that diagnosis. As a matter of fact, my first symptoms starting showing up about 10 years ago, but I didn’t get a diagnosis (or treatment) for it until about 8 years later.
I’ve since found out that my story is similar to others who have autoimmune issues. Because symptoms vary wildly from person to person, AND because of the fact that symptoms can come and go quickly, it’s just really hard to accurately and quickly diagnose.
As a matter of fact, I went through several doctors in those eight years, trying to find one who could help me. At one point, I actually had a doctor say to me, “Wendie, after a while, if you keep bringing your car to a mechanic and the mechanic can’t find anything wrong with it, you have to assume it isn’t the car; it’s the driver.” In other words, “There’s nothing physically wrong with you. It’s all in your head.”
Hmmmm. Well Doc, eight years later, my lab reports and medical team say differently. Turns out it was the mechanic, after all.
Needless to say, I no longer have my health managed by that person. I’m now under NEW management.
Don’t you love when a place says that on the window?! It’s like, “Hey! We know we didn’t have our act together before but now we finally have someone here who knows what she’s doing! Come try us out!”
That’s what Paul is basically telling us in this section of Romans – chapters 6-8, or what we are calling “The Faithfulness of God”.
In Romans 6:12-13, Paul tells us that we don’t have to choose our old ways anymore. We’ve been given “new life” and a new power within us (known as the Holy Spirit). We can start living differently, knowing we are supported by Him. As Paul succinctly states, “Sin shall not be master over you.” (6:14) Whew! That’s good news!
The thing is, we are all a slave to something. Who is your master? Temptation doesn’t pass by a single one of us, and it is important to regularly check yourself and regroup with Jesus at the helm!
Paul, himself, admits to struggles with his flesh, too! He paints a not-so-pretty picture of himself in Chapter 7! (Click here to read it...). But he ends that chapter with some of the most beautiful words spoken in scripture:
I once read that the point of Paul’s “..wretched self-portrait in Chapter 7 is to demonstrate that humanity can no more purify itself of sin after salvation than before. Only God can purify a soul. And He does through Jesus. And we become sanctified by growing ever deeper in him.” (A Commentary on Romans, Charles Swindoll).
But how do we do that? Grow deeper in him, I mean. I’m so glad you asked! Paul once again comes to our aid by explaining it all to us in Chapter 8!
Chapter 8 starts us off with some reassuring words. Paul begins with this gem: “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
For me, this is the turning point in Romans. Paul’s been sort of telling us what NOT to do for long enough and he switches gears now and starts to tell us what TO do, instead: Let the Spirit lead you.
In the first 17 verses of Chapter 8, Paul is simply letting us know that our job is to let God do His work in us through the Spirit. Yes, we are willing participants in the process, but God has things prepared for us to do and we can only do them when we allow Him to work through us.
Did you see Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt in the movie, As Good as it Gets? Jack’s character falls in love with Helen’s and he tells her, “You make me want to be a better [person]”. (You can click here to see the clip!)
And that’s exactly what happens when we let God in the driver’s seat! We can’t help but sitting shot gun with a grin on our face, gleefully participating in His will!
Now take a second and read Romans 8:15-17. Don’t worry, I’ll wait right here while you do! 😉
Paul’s message? Stop trying so hard to “be spiritual” and let the Spirit be spiritual. If you already have the Spirit in you, you can’t get more Spirit! But you CAN grow in your ability to let the Spirit go to work!
Now, read Romans 8:26-39.
Um, yeah. That’s almost too much to handle, isn’t it?! Nothing can stand against us when we are standing with Him! As in NOTHING. Nothing surprises Him. He’s got a plan. And Paul ends with this crazy cool assurance of confidence that God’s got it covered. Let Him do His thing!
That’s one faithfully awesome God we serve, sweet friends.
Take this week to let the Spirit lead, will you? Let me know what happens!
Following along with us in Seeing the Big Picture?! Click here for this week’s homework AND a link to our song for the week, “Thrive”, by Casting Crowns!
Thanks for checking in today! See you next week!
Peace, love, and JOY!
Up Next Week: He Knows What He’s Doing