Ask God to orient or reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.
1 I speak the truth in Christ— I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit— 2 I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, 4 the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. 5 Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.
As we move into our next section of Romans, the challenge for us will be to see the beauty in the mysteries of God. Think about whom it is we will be talking about in the upcoming months… It is God Himself, the Ultimate, Supreme and Sovereign One. The One who spoke everything into existence.
We are not even a speck upon a speck… we’re limited finite beings, limited in our understanding, limited in our power, and limited in our control. We may seem like we’re really something, but in reality we’re not. Let me give you an example: I’m 52 years old and as I write I’ve been battling an ear infection! I haven’t had one since I was a child. It’s been going on two weeks and I still have it. I’ve been to the doctor twice, taken two different antibiotics along with steroids, and yet my ear still feels full. Think about that, that’s a simple ear infection, and yet I really have no power over it. I couldn’t will it away; I couldn’t touch it and heal it instantly — even though I wish I could!
As we move into the weeks ahead we will be looking at deep theological issues, and it’s okay, it really is a good thing. My challenge to you and I is to embrace the mysteries of God. Don’t be afraid of them. Wrestle with the tensions of God’s sovereignty and man’s free will—this is a good thing. Thank God that there are mysteries above our pay grade.
Let the wonder of the Lord blow you away as it did Paul. “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”— the things God has prepared for those who love him—(1 Cor.2.9).
I’ll leave you with a thought from C.S. Lewis when he was addressing the sovereignty of God and man’s responsibility: if the pygmies think you are a giant and the giants think you are a pygmy, then you are probably the right size.
*From what you have just read and considered, what is a personal implication/application for your life today?
(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the Gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live out this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the Good News today. KEEP PRAYING THROUGHOUT YOUR DAY.
Inspiration and insight for the devotionals came from the following books: Reading Romans with John Stott; The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World (The Bible Speaks Today Series), Stott, John; Romans (The NIV Application Commentary Book 6) Moo, Douglas J.; Encountering the Book of Romans: A Theological Survey (Encountering Biblical Studies) Moo, Douglas J.; Believers Bible Commentary; The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, with the New International Version, Romans through Galatians; NIV Application Study Bible. The Cambridge Bible Commentary, Romans, Best, Ernest.