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"And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body." (Romans 8:23)
There is plenty enough in our lives to complain about. The list is long, and I will not even speak of them as for what is major to me is not what might be major to you, and what is major to you may not be so for me. We each have our unique difficulties. There is a certain release that we find in expressing our complaints aloud even as we know none truly cares to listen for very long. Then many keep these things unto themselves. Perhaps this is best for the one who knows our hearts well enough to give a satisfying peace as our Lord. Then again the thought comes across my mind how I could bother my God with such trivial matters even as I believe that if it is bothersome to me, it is important to Him. We are told to cast our burdens upon Him, for He will sustain us through the trials. "Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken." (Psalm 55:22)
We sometimes become weighted down with the burdens of life in this world, and we grow weary from the weight of their stress upon us. We find ourselves needing a break, an escape from the pressure of the trial that is pressing upon us, and we have given it our all, but the battle is too great for us. My wife always asks me, “Why didn’t you read the directions first? By the same truth, I ask myself and you why we didn’t go to the Lord first in prayer when the trials of life come upon us. Jesus is always calling us to come to Him. "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28)
We need not feel ashamed, and we need not feel that we are an annoyance to Him. He is our Lord and Master, who loved us so much that He suffered the Roman cross for us. Suffering so great that we cannot fully comprehend it. He suffered because it was the will of His Father in Heaven, and He suffered because of the love that He has for you and me. We bring our trials to Him because He cares for us. "Casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you." (1 Peter 5:7)
After the Lord God delivered the Israelites from the land of bondage in Egypt, they found themselves in the wilderness. One of the purposes of this journey was to teach them how to become a holy nation that through them, all nations could be blessed. But they found themselves without food and water and weak in faith in the Lord. They murmured and complained to Moses and Arron and declared that it would have been better to have died in slavery than to die of starvation in the wilderness. "The whole congregation of the sons of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness." (Exodus 16:2)
We find ourselves, now that we have been delivered from the bondage of our sin, in the wilderness being taught through our trials and tribulations to live as a holy nation that the world may be blessed by the action of our word and deed through Christ. Like the Israelites, we must call upon the name of our Lord to guide us to the provision for our bodies and soul. "He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name's sake." (Psalm 23:2-3) Even as we now walk through the shadowed valley, we follow Him in faith because we trust Him and know that through His care "goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever." (Psalm 23:6)
In this life here wrapped in the flesh that is drawn to the affections of this world, we are filled with corruptions, we live in a weak flesh that often dishonors the desire of our heart to serve faithfully to the precepts of our Master, and this is why we groan. We are eagerly waiting for that day when we are incorruptible, immortal, and live in His glory. "To those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life." (Romans 2:7)
When we see the truth that the trials of our lives are but a test of our faith and that the test will strengthen our faith that with our spiritual eye we can see the result of our confidence in our Lord. For this is the work that Jesus is performing in us that we are being transformed from the wretched creature we are to the glorious beings that we will soon be. That if we abide in Him all things are possible through Him, (Philippians 4:13 and through Him we will receive all spiritual blessings. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ" (Ephesians 1:3)
We are physical creatures with spiritual beings trapped within. We live in a physical body equipped to carry us to the door of a spiritual realm. We are the Israelites in training through the wilderness to the Promised Land, and we are in the wilderness of this world being transformed from the corruptible to the incorruptible by our spiritual growth in Jesus. We travel in the assurance that what God has begun He will complete. "For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus." (Philippians 1:6) In His transforming power we shall be changed from the old self into the likeness of Him who has redeemed us. "Who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself." (Philippians 3:21)
Some groan in this world for more wealth and power, some for the possessions that this world has to offer, and some groan for freedom from the trials that befall them as they pass through. They groan, seeking the pity and sympathy of others and show the true desire of their hearts. But the Christian groans from within for his glorification. To be more, more like Jesus. For this is the desire of the Christian, the one who follows Christ, the one who desires to be as Christ. We groan for the appearing of Christ. For in that day this perishable body that we have traveled in will be replaced with an imperishable body. One that will not know age, will not know spot or blemish, will not know ill health, pain or sorrow, and will never again fear death or the unknown. "For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality." (1 Corinthians 15:53)
Jesus Christ is the hope that we have. That through Him we are true Children of God, that we have full entitlement to the inheritance that awaits us in the eternal Kingdom of God. His Kingdom is the destination that He has already given us and even now is preparing for us. It comes to us according to His will, according to the grace that He shows to all of His children, because of His mercy that endures forever, and according to the great love He has for you and me. "He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will." (Ephesians 1:5)
We groan within and eagerly wait for His appearing. On that day, the Day of Jesus Christ, we will see Him and be as Him, acceptable and presentable to God the Father Almighty. A Holy and Righteous God. "Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is." (1 John 3:2)
Thomas N Kirkpatrick
First Baptist Church of Durant, December 3, 2015
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