Transformation: Romans 5:1-5

posted by Bethel Communications | Nov 4, 2021


TRANSCRIPT

Hi there, this is Nancy OBrien from Bethel West Pasco. Today I want to talk with you about what it looks like when you have given your life to Christ, you have witnessed huge transformations in your life through that process, and still sometimes, when you roll out of bed in the morning, the evidence of that transformation seems scarce.

So, to back up a little bit, I am a woman of, as they say “a certain age”, and I gave my life to Christ about 12 years ago. It truly has been a process of on-going transformation for me. I am not the person that was before. I have laid down so many hurts, habits and ways of thinking that were not taking my life down a path of joy, and I have picked up many new habits and ways of thinking that have brought much happiness and joy into my life.

But I have to be honest, this week my life has been lacking in outward evidence of transformation. I could tell you all the reasons, some of them even valid, as to why I have been grumpy, grumbly, anxious, and quick to anger. Things at work have been stressful, I got a really an insulting email, things in my personal life have been a little rocky, I haven’t been sleeping well. See? Lots of good reasons! But here’s the thing, when you compare those “problems” with all of the solutions that Jesus’ gave to us, then shouldn't they just fade away, like the hymn says “in the light of His glory and grace”. They should, but sometimes they don’t. 

So why am I telling you all this? Before I came into relationship with Jesus, when these kinds of things happened, I would get angry, short-tempered and all the rest, and I would keep going deeper down that path becoming more angry and depressed, because the only hope I had of making things better was in myself, and while most times I could pull it back together, a lot of times I couldn’t, because I am crappy savior. But this week - I started down that path, grumped around for a couple of days and then I remembered, with some help from a friend, that I didn’t have to rescue myself from this downward spiral, I have a real savior, someone who actually can pull me back and carry this load for me. I talked with friends in my small group, and I prayed and prayed. I've spent a long time this week explaining to God how things were not going the way they were supposed to be going, and he has been showing me again and again that I need to let it go and trust Him to work things for His good.

When I get in a funk like this, I have to go back to what I know I know. And one of the places I go is to Romans chapter 5, verses 1 - 5, which says:

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

So what do I know: I have peace with God, whatever war I feel like I am fighting, it's not with God. God is on my side, God will fight for me. He may discipline me, if I am in sin, but He is always fighting for me. And whatever happens, there is joy and hope. In the New Living Translation verse 5 says: “this hope will not lead to disappointment.” My hope in myself always disappoints eventually, but my hope in God never will. 

The passage is clear that God’s promise doesn’t prevent suffering, but it does promise fruit from suffering. There is hope, because we are justified by Jesus, there is hope because we have access to the Most High God and we can rejoice in His glory, there is hope because God has poured out His love into our hearts and dwells in us through the Holy Spirit.

I won’t lie to you - I’m still kind of grumpy right now, but I know that God has grace for this grump and I will again soon find my hope in God.

Some days friends, hope is all we have. But if that hope is in Jesus, then that hope is enough. And I have to remind myself of that whenever I feel lost.

Let’s pray. Lord Jesus, I confess that it is easy to focus on my hurts and my desires and lose sight of all of the glorious gifts You have poured into my life. But you have not abandoned us to our own devices, You have given us the Holy Spirit and a body of believers to call us back to You when we get lost.  You have given us love, hope and peace, and I pray that each of us would be reminded of that every day, every time we begin to lose our way. Amen.

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