OUR SOURCE OF STRENGTH: Proverbs 25-27 and Romans 15.
OUR SOURCE OF STRENGTH
Our readings today are Proverbs 25-27 and Romans 15. They are being read from the New Living Translation.
The scriptures teach us and give us hope and encouragement. I typically will spend a little time at the start of each podcast referencing the roll that the scriptures play in our lives. I do this because, there is a danger of Christians worshiping their Bible rather than God. The Bible is not the saviour of the world. Jesus is. I mentioned this at the begining of today’s podcast. And here Paul gives us a description of what the Bible does in the life of the believer, in verse 4-5 he says this “ Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled.
5 May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus.
There you have it, Paul specifically gives us a description of some of what the bible is doing for us. It teaches us, it gives us hope and encouragement. More specifically in vs 5 he says “May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, hel you live in complete harmony with each other. So it is God who gives us this hope and encouragement. The Bible is teaching us this, directing us to the one who is our hope and our true encouragement.
What is Paul waiting patently, hopefully for? Lets look back at the previous chapter, chapter 14:17-18 of Romans, Paul is praying for christians in his churches come to a greater understanding of the Gospel, that follower of Christ will grow to understand the the Gospel is not a matter of food and drink, but of the spirit and love and joy in the spirit. Romans 14:17-18 17 For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 If you serve Christ with this attitude, you will please God, and others will approve of you, too.
They are getting lost in their religion, and missing the point, and they are arguing and hurting each other over religious practice, and culture. And they are missing Christ. Paul sees that his churches need to grow up. But growing up takes time, And Paul is not getting discouraged here, he’s praying, and he is encouraging these churches to let the scriptures turn your heart to Christ. And Christ will show us that God’s kingdom is so much bigger than religious and cultural questions like what we eat or drink, or the meaning or observance of certain days. Rather the Kingdom life we are invited into is about living a good life, filled with peace, and joy and confidence. It’s reflected out into the world as Christlikeness. He is the point. And Paul is letting the Bible teach him to be patient, to have hope and to be encouraged. Let God teach you today, to give you hope to encourage you with a greater vision of the Kingdom than you have right now. There is more for all of us to behold, the best is yet to be revealed.
I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. (Rm 15:13)
All these good things like joy, peace, and overflowing confident hope, are gifts through the power of the Holy Spirit. Are you joyful? Do you have peace? Do you have a confident and overflowing hope? Well, you can. And it’s something you don’t have to muster it up and that’s good news. We might temporarily seem to have developed one of these qualities, but for it to be something that it is overflowing, that is not within our own ability to do. No. That’s sourced somewhere else. That comes from the Holy Spirit. That quality of life that we all desire, finds its origin not in us, but in him. It comes from Christ living his life in and through you. Paul knew it was Christ in him. He says,
So I have reason to be enthusiastic about all Christ Jesus has done through me in my service to God. Yet I dare not boast about anything except what Christ has done through me (Rm 15:17-18 NLT).
It’s Christ working in and through us, that brings about this overflowing life of joy, peace, trust, and confident hope, that we all desire. We can’t conjure it up.
Don’t rely upon yourself to bring about that overflowing life. Instead, trust him and begin to find that overflowing life, in Him. It’s available to you today, by faith.