"For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear but you received the spirit of adoption by whom we cry out 'Abba, Father.' The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs - heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, so that we may also be glorified together. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us."
The verse that really prompted me to memorize this was vs. 18, the last sentence above.
How do I wrap my mind around the statement that Paul makes, that the sufferings that are part of our life right now really can't be compared with what is coming... the glory that will be revealed in us?
I can see that some now with some of the things I have gone through in the past. I am starting to see how God is using them for my good and His glory. I can see that God is using those things to show Himself powerful in my weaknesses.
It is the present things that I am having trouble with. The present circumstances I find myself against. That granite rock that I can't move or get through on my own. I was going to say the present things I am against don't cause suffering, but I think they do. A different kind than what I have gone through in ways.
Confusion, lack of clarity in what God wants me to do. Choices that seem mutually exclusive. I can't do one thing and still do the other. I can't submit in obedience in one area, in a God honoring way, and still do what I feel God is calling me to do... and it is so much more complicated than I am stating here. (maybe see this short post for more clarity)
I guess I have to pray through this chunk of scripture as I memorize it. I am going to pray that God will root it more deeply into my life and heart, so that it really becomes part of my belief system. That I can really say those words from the heart.
It is so easy to be pulled back into the bondage of fear. I have been set free from that. God has delivered me. I am adopted by Him and am His child. He is my Daddy God, my Father that is always with me no matter how I feel. He has lavished His love upon me and called me His child and that is what I am!
The part of that first verse that I experienced last night was the Spirit of adoption "by whom we cry out 'Abba, Father.'
I had the experience in our small group of crying out.
Ok, so I was literally crying :) But I mean more than that.
Someone very close to me seems to be disconnecting from God, and all those around them. They seem to be backing away from the church... (read that, the body of Christ, not the specific church they go to). Even me, with whom they used to be much more deeply connected and we could talk. Really talk, and not just about surface things... that type of connection has been limited.
My heart is aching. For them, for those around them who used to be closer and don't know why there is this distance. This dear person is in a very stressful job, and that can be having its effect. But the drift away from God has been happening for a while... much longer ago than when the stress of this job started.
Oh how I want to see them come back to that deep love of Christ that I thought used to be there. Maybe I was mistaken, but I don't think so.
Many things in the past few years have put stress on them and their relationship with God. I am sure there has been questioning there. There has been on my part too. But in my questioning, I have waited (sometimes not so patiently) for the answers. I don't know if they ever felt that they received answers.
Last night in small group, I shared my concerns about this person, and requesting prayer for them.
As we moved to prayer, I think we all felt and experienced the sweet fellowship of the Spirit, and connection with God. I started to pray for this person, literally crying, but also crying out to my Daddy God for healing for this person.
Of a soft and willing heart.
For renewal and revival.
I know that it is going to be a rough ride for this person. I don't know what it will take for God to get them to come to the end of themselves. I acknowledged that to God. And then I paused. Could I ask it?
It was extremely hard for me to express it, but I did.
I begged God to do whatever it takes to bring them to their knees in front of Him. I essentially "gave God permission" if that makes sense to work in their life in a radical way. I loosed God on them, and bound the enemy from interfering.
My heart aches and cries out for them.
My heart quakes and trembles at what it might take.
What it might take to get them to experience the sweet freedom in Christ they are meant to know.
Oh to see this dear one be able to truly worship God, yearn for Him, yearn for His word, for fellowship with His body!
To see them come alive in God's presence!
Not to stand stiff with arms crossed and stony faced during worship. Distracted and putting time in during the sermon. Fleeing from the building as soon as the service is dismissed.
To see them realize the Spirit of adoption they have received, and fight with all their might the spirit that wants to hold them in bondage to fear... to keep them ineffective and unhappy and stuck.
This dear one was never demonstrative. A private person. But I know the difference of who they are now to where they were 8-9 years ago. No matter what they may say, they are changed.
I love them so much. Not more than God does. He wants them to come back to Him even more than I do.
Please pray with me.
Oh Daddy God, please, please draw them back to you. Bring your child home. Woo your child back to you, to your heart. Bring them the healing they need so desperately. That they don't even realize they need. Do what it takes. Anything and everything. As painful as it might be. Anything it takes, God to bring them to their knees in surrender to you, to acknowledge that all their knowledge and strength are not enough to do what only you can do. It could be a wild ride, Lord, but I am ready to take it if that's what is necessary. Use me if you need to... but please reach them and free them from the bondage and strongholds that blind them to you. Bring your light and life to them in a powerful, life changing way, as only you can. Amen.