Bury the Do-It-Yourself Life

In Paul’s own time, he was really quite insignificant.  He was not influential to anyone of influence.  He wrote this letter to Roman people when Rome was focused on being “world-class” – very few people actually even read this letter when it was “hot off the press”.  Somehow, despite it’s lack of popularity back then, it has became the premier document of Christian theology in modern times.  (paraphrased from what Peterson wrote to introduce the book of Romans in The Message Bible)  I so often forget that many of God’s “key” Bible writers and figures were just simple everyday people.  Their stories and writings were taught to me in such a heroic fashion that I picture them as heroes in their own time and often forget that the hero part didn’t come until much later- after they were dead!  It is a great reminder that God can and will use the average, every day person to complete His missions here on earth.  It helps me to focus, believing that God has a plan of greatness all figured out for a country mom of 3 boys who spends her hours hollering at the kids, taking care of animals, and tending to her weeds in the garden.
Romans 8:1-17 talks about how life no longer has to be seen as drudgery.  That the abuses in our lives are not for nothing.  Sin used to be the great end-all.  People believed that bad things in their lives happened because of some kind of sin that occurred.  Jesus changed all that.  The problem of sin was taken care of for good when Jesus died and rose again.  It was a big deal to God to see that the weight of sin would be lifted so His people could gain the rewards that He has planned for them!  IF we accept this amazing miracle as fact (death/resurrection) and focus on God, asking God to intercede in every aspect of our lives.
This passage is amazingly important and a little slap in the face to stop the Do It Yourself Life- Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life.  Those who trust God’s action in them find that God’s Spririt is in them- living and breathing God!  Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life.  Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God.  Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores God, ends up thinking more about self than God.  That person ignores who God is and what he is doing.  And God isn’t pleased at being ignored. (5-8)
Doesn’t it make sense, logically, that if God could raise someone from the dead that he could do so the same thing with us?  Move into our lives and makes us alive in Him?  When he lives in us, he breathes in us make us delivered from a dead life.  (par. 10-11)
Don’t you see that we don’t owe this old do-it-yourself life one red cent.  There’s nothing in it for us. .. . The best thing is to give it a decent burial and get on with our new life. . . . There are things to do and places to go! (12-14)
Today, I encourage you to leave at Jesus feet all the-
  • if I only tried harder
  • if I would just focus
  • if I would just buckle down and do it
  • if I would stop doing those things that hurt me in the end (over eating, over sleeping, over worrying, etc)
  • if I would stop obsessing
  • All the IF ONLY’s
  • All the “why do I shoot myself in the foot”‘s
  • All the “why do I even try”‘s
  • All the “I don’t even know where to start”‘s
  • All the “it’s just too much so I’ll do nothing”‘s
It’s not a Do it Yourself Life!!!!!  It’s a Do it with God life!!!!!  Of all of us, I probably need to be reminded of this the most.  I am sooooooo independent that I often find myself drowning and refusing to reach my arm up and yell for help.  God is the only thing that can reach my hand and pull me out and too often I forget!!
Elizabeth George has said- Just like a plant with its roots hidden underground, you and I- out of public view and alone with God- are to draw from Him all that we need to live the abundant life He has promised His children.
We are all significant to God.  Paul did not know what God would do with his writings but he wrote them because he felt God had compelled him to do so.  I wonder how significant his writings would have been if he wrote them all on his own and without God’s guidance?  Would we even know Paul’s letters exsisted today?  I doubt it. . . .
Dear Heavenly Father- Thank you for your wisdom.  Thank you for your reminders to stay focused on you!  Thank you for Paul- despite his life of imprisonment and insignificance, he knew he was important to you!  Remind us today and always, Lord, to stop being independent and start being Dependent On You.  The reward will be great and I can’t wait to see how neat it will be!  Thank you!  -Amen

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