This week your Kingdom Bloggers are writing about a Bible verse that significantly impacted their lives.
After 30+ years as a Born Again Christian, it's hard to pick one. After so many seasons in the Lord, it is easy to forget the ones that pierced my heart so many years before.
That said, my favorite chapter in the Bible, other than Acts chapter 2, is Romans 8. The book of Acts I find amazingly exciting - yet the chapter in Romans has changed my life, my understanding of God, and propelled me into a place of awe.
As a young Christian I read the books of John, Acts and somehow I ended up in Romans. In John I met God, in Acts I learned about the power that was in me. But in Romans, I came to terms with my sin, my humanity and it collided with the grace of an everlasting God.
Let me explain. As a sinner, I sinned. I wasn't the worst, but no one said, "Oh he a good kid." In High School kids parents warned them not to hang out with me. "He's nothing but trouble." It was true. I needed God.
What's hard for people to see on the outside, is the pain that goes on, on the inside. They see bad behavior as the problem, when that lack of love, combined with addiction and the sinful nature become a deadly cocktail. Simply put, "hurt people, hurt people." For folks like me, I was also ashamed. I am still embarrassed, regretful and remorseful about things that I have said and done. That is why Jesus was able to invade my heart so many years ago. I could not stand under the weight of sin and fear.
If you read the 8th chapter of Romans, there are lots of things that matter in there. The major sections are Life Through the Spirit, Future Glory and More Than Conquerors. For someone like me, the fact there is no condemnation (v1), should be enough. Paul, however; goes on to say "you are controlled by the spirit." (v9) And then speaks of the relationship of the spirit and the flesh. (v11) He lays out the obligation that we have (v12) - that is comforting because we do not have to guess! He closes with the fact that we are co-heirs with Christ - that's right we get it all! (v17)
The next section he writes about how the Spirit helps us (v26), and the relationship with God in our mortal body - wow, the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead lives in me! (v11) If we can't fathom that even a little, we will never be effective Christians. I want it! How about you?
As Christians we are meant to have power! Power to heal, to speak forgiveness, the power to be vessels of His will, and creative energy. Meditate on that for a few minutes!
And now for the most amazing verse in this Christian's life, verse 28: "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him." At first glance it seems simple - and it is. If we love God, he takes everything that we have done and uses it for His purposes. Think about all you have done, all your thoughts, everything that you have said, both on purpose or by accident. God can turn your sin into something of value for His kingdom. He can take your disappointments, your crimes, your thoughtlessness and use it for His glory.
We may be whining about how the devil is kicking our back side - but God can even use that. After all, Job feared and God gave him permission to at do some nasty stuff to a righteous man.
It is God's purpose to bring us into His Glory - the same glory that Moses saw the back side of while his head was in the cleft of a rock! (Exodus 33:17) This is the glory that is so pure that our mortal bodies would incinerate if we were to contact it. Yet, that is the plan of God to make us holy in spite of our bad works. And in the end for us to be in glory with Him forever.
And the part that I love the most - nothing can separate us from the love of God. NOTHING. Once we are Born Again, it is a done deal. God uses it all.
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:
"For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered." 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.