For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The above verses, along with all of Romans 8, are extremely comforting and empowering to those of us who know Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. We are not condemned for our sins as Christ paid for them and our faith has brought His payment to our account. No matter what we face in life, the love of God through Jesus Christ cannot be separated from us as we belong to Him and have His Spirit in us. All of that being said, I can recall being a person outside the faith, and then new in the faith, and misunderstanding this. I used to believe that if God loved me that meant I would not suffer hardship or suffering as He would never cause that to someone He loved. I also used to think that God’s love must mean success in whatever I attempted as certainly God wanted me to enjoy winning at whatever I did. These are not only immature conclusions, but totally wrong ones! God’s love is as certain as the universe itself, but the purpose and impact of His love is not what we naturally believe. God’s love is meant to be a transforming power in our life to form us into the image of His Son and to give us a new character that honors Him and benefits His other children. It is a selfish and short-sighted understanding to think that all God cares about is our happiness in every moment and in every situation no matter what we do or think. God’s love has higher eternal purposes that we naturally cannot comprehend as people. It is God’s Spirit in us that reveals this love, oftentimes despite of our circumstances. Many of us have fallen into the trap that God’s love always means comfort, ease and prosperity in our personal lives. A casual reading of the Bible will reveal that God’s greatest servants all suffered and endured hardship. It is the hardships and pains of life that refine and purify our faith and character and prove our love and trust in God; they are absolutely necessary on this side of eternity, but will not be necessary in Heaven according to the Book of Revelation. What each of us needs to do in our personal relationship with Christ is to learn to increase our focus on the truth that the Spirit of God is revealing in our soul and concentrate on the sacrifice Jesus Christ made to redeem us. We need to learn to quiet our soul and get alone with the Lord in prayer and worship and let the Spirit of God and His Word reveal and remind us of the love He has already proven to us. It takes effort as we all live in a very distracted world with many false teachings and misleading voices around us. Even in pain and loss, God’s love in our soul should be evident and clear if we will but receive the truth of it. The love is found in spiritual truth and in our heart and soul, not in the material world and our circumstances alone. Does that sound like living in a fairy tale world? I thought that before I knew the Lord, but now that I have Jesus Christ as my Savior, I know it to be the truth; this is why our faith is foolishness to those who reject Christ, but power to us who know Him! (see 1 Corinthians 1:18) My friends, this is why daily time with the Lord is essential to our abiding in Him and having the power to stay faithful. Living by faith and God’s love is a life-long journey of growth and understanding; get moving on it today as none of us know what tomorrow will bring. Today is the day to grow! Blessings!
Love in Christ,
Pastor Gary Houdek