Tonight…my Advent Devotional took me through a refection of Romans 8:28-39. One of my most favorite passages in the Bible. There is so much to explore in this passage. So, for the sake of time, I decided to stick to the main question in the devotional text. “Romans 8:28 says that as believers we are called according to His purpose. Reflecting on this, how are you striving to align your life with God’s purposes?”
I am glad the the author of my Advent Devotional extended the passage beyond Romans 8:28 to give a better context to understand the truth Paul was communicating. I am also glad the the author decided to focus on the “His purpose” portion and not the “all things God works for the good of those who love him” part of the passage. Sometimes I think this passage gets misunderstood and we reverse its order, calling on God to support our own purpose. We like to focus on the parts of this verse that make us feel safe in the Love of God. It is true, there really is nothing that can separate us from the love of God, our El Shaddai.
However, God became Emanuel not because of our will but because of His purpose…and He invites us into His purpose. I think when I first read this passage years ago, I read it confusing His purpose with a life of comfort. I read it confusing it with a life of worldly peace and success. I now believe that while there is comfort in knowing that there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God, and that the fruit of God’s purpose is Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindess, Gentleness, Faithfulness and Self Control, words like financial success, physical comfort and the like are nowhere to be found in this passage.
But what about the word “striving” in this question. The question asked, how am I striving to align my life with God’s purposes?” I do believe, as a follower of God through our Messiah Jesus, we should be intentional, disciplined and passionate about aligning our lives with God’s purpose. However, I get concerned about the word striving. The definition of striving itself is not wrong in this context. However, a lot of people are striving on our planet, even striving to do good. With all the striving on our planet, has injustice been extinguished, has poverty been eliminated, has ignorance been reduced? With these questions in mind, I believe that there is no striving that we can do to align us with God purposes. Our best move is to simply yield to God’s purposes.
I must admit, I laughed out loud after I wrote that last sentence. There is nothing simple about a humanity yielding to God’s purpose. In our own minds, we would rather strive than yield. Please take notice, if you are reading this post I plead with you. God is who He is, and if it is true, that He entered our world through His son over 2000 years ago because he was reaching out to us in love, in an effort to include us in His will and purpose, then no matter what we do to make a God in our own image and fit Him into our own purposes is fruitless. Our every effort will be in vain.
To be clear, I do believe that God is who He is and that Jesus is His Son, born into our world on a real date in the history of humankind. I will not force my belief on anyone. However, with all that is at stake in our world today, I pray that all would consider the options. If Jesus is God’s Son and God said, “listen to Him, He is my Son”, then there is no other way. For those who believe in God’s way through Jesus my plea to you is that you would not allow human tradition and religious worldview keep you from yielding to God’s Purpose. My plea to those of you who don’t yet believe…please don’t let the folly of religion, and the failure of religious people hold you back from yielding to God and His way.