Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

14 The Road to Rejoicing

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Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

It is here as Paul closes the Book of Romans and gives us this beautiful benediction that he reminds us of the goodness of God’s grace. It is here that we move from sinners to singers, from being hopeless to being filled with hope, from having no joy or peace to experiencing the Fruit of the Spirit:

  • “ May the God of hope…” Everything starts and is sustained by God, He is the origin and object of our hope. Throughout the bible we are repeatedly reminded of God’s high hopes for His people and it is because of our Father that we have a future hope. Hope is what fills us with excitement, optimism and a longing for life. Yet which hope will we choose, the Fathers hope or false hope? This world gives us other sources of hope, substitute sources. It tells us that hope will only come when the economy has recovered, when and if we get well, if we get that job. Unlike the hope found in God’s word, the worlds hope is built on wanting not waiting. When we choose a substitute source of hope instead of resting we end up running. We run after that new job, a different doctor, a different church, or no church, better behaved children, a better spouse. Only to discover that all of our wanting leaved us worn out and even when we do catch what we chase we never do grab a hold of hope. Where are you searching, what is your source of hope? Are you choosing the hope of the world or the Word? In Romans 5:2 Paul says that “we boast in the hope of the glory of God” God’s hope is what causes us to hold our heads high even in the low points of life.  In Romans 12:12 Paul calls us to “Be joyful in hope” this is more than just a happy hope because this is a hope that is built on Him. When we’re hurting and in need of help it is His hope that brings us healing. 1 Corinthians 13:13 reminds us “now these three remain: faith, hope and love”, hope along with faith and love, endure to the very end. Hope helps us not to lose heart. It produces patience and persistence in our lives so that we can push on. It is a hope that helps us to face the future without fear. Hope is a product of the promises of our God. Hope is a product of the presence of our God. Hope is a product of the power of our God.
  • “…fill…” This was a word that was used to describe a net crammed full of fish and bursting at the seams. It means that there is no room for any more because God is enough. Paul is not just talking about an occasional top up as we travel through life, but living a life filled by the Father. Living a filled life is a satisfied life and only the Savior can supply and satisfy your life. What is filling your life? Are you filled with the Father, are you satisfied by the Savior or have you chosen another source?
  • “…you…” This is at the same time both personal and about other people. Paul held onto God’s hope but he didn’t hide His hope. Paul loved to pray for others so that they would understand God’s gift of grace. What a great passage to pray for family and friends. Who do you know that needs some hope? Some joy? Some peace? What if you would pray this prayer for them. When you’re done reading start pleading in prayer for the people God has placed around you.
  • “…with all joy…” Joy is that deep down sense of well-being that abides in the heart of those who know all is well between them and God. Happiness depends on happenings, but joy depends on Jesus. Joy finds its focus in Jesus and what He did on the cross not on our circumstances that constantly change. Are you living in the joy of forgiveness, the joy of eternal life, the joy of belonging to God’s family and the joy of knowing where you will go when this life is over? Are you being filled with the joy that comes from sacrificing and serving others or are you just getting fat from all the feeding?
  • “…and peace…” Peace means to join together what is pulled apart, broken. People have always sought a trouble-free life, free from problems and filled with peace. Yet even though the heart longs for serenity, sin creates tension and turmoil. We become distracted by desires and ambitions that are contradictory and competing. We are pulled apart, divided and destroyed in the chaos of an inner civil war. The minds and hearts of people become broken battlegrounds but God wants to bring order into the chaos, tranquility where there is turmoil. Psalm 133:1 tells us that God’s heart is for harmony, for us to live in peace with all people: “How wonderful and pleasant it is when brothers live together in harmony!” The Father wants to give to us the gift of peace that passes understanding.
  • “…as you trust in Him…” All that God has for us is not automatically gained because we are American born but because we are born again. It is appropriated by trusting in the finished work of Christ on the cross. What are you trusting in, the cross or the culture? God or government?
  • “…so that…” The benefits come after we believe, Faith comes first and then the fruits follow. How often do we try to reverse this, we beg God first for the blessing and then we will bow, that’s not belief it bartering!
  • “…you may overflow…” The meaning of this word is very rich it means to have an exceeding abundance so as to have it in excess. God’s desire is to fill to overflowing, to give us more than can be contained. Is your cup running dry or running over?
  • “…with hope…” Ephesians 2:12, reminds us that at one time the Gentiles had no hope, “remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” Hope is a result of the work of the Redeemer, based on His blessing and guaranteed by His grace. Today for the child of God there are no hopeless situations, there are only those who have grown hopeless about them. There are no holes in God’s hope.
  • “…by the power of the Holy Spirit.” We can’t generate any of this on our own. People spend their entire lives searching for joy, peace and hope but they will never find it separate from the Spirit. God sent the Holy Spirit to comfort us in the chaos, to bring power to our pathetic lives. But we have to surrender to the Spirit of God and listen to His leading.

As you read this simple verse you have a lot to rejoice about, God’s promises should cause you to proclaim His praise.  Are you anchoring your life in the attributes of God? My prayer for you today is that the God of hope will fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

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