Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? (Romans 8:35 ESV)
Interesting… I was looking for ‘what’, not who.
As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” (Romans 8:36 ESV)
This separation from the love of Christ is, above all, worth dying for; for me and for you.
9 [And] there will be tribulation and anguish and calamity and constraint for every soul of man who [habitually] does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek (Gentile). (Amplified Bible)
There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, (Romans 2:9 ESV)
The judgement is clear, we either know and rest in the love and forgiveness of Christ or we face eternal death – unceasing eternal punishment for our sins.
I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit—that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh. (Romans 9:1-3 ESV)
Paul’s anguish over the lost takes him to the edge… in his thoughts the exchange of his eternal life for those of his brothers would perhaps be a considered exchange.
Parenthetically, I operate most often in a black and white world. It would be my easy conclusion in my sinful flesh that you get what you deserve… pay up! But I can’t, you can’t. This separation from God’s love is clearly the point. It’s not only justice – a paying for my sins, I and those around me are missing out incredibly if we do not know God’s love.
Oh God, don’t let me miss this, please don’t let them miss this.
So then, what is my earnest prayer? What do we anguish over? Fear? fear of unpaid bills, fear of death and sickness? fear of physical pain and suffering? fear of mental anguish? fear of exposure, rejection, shame? fear of the darkness that presses in with exceeding oppression? These are things that can kill the body, no? But what about that which would send us into a Christ-less eternity? Yet these things seem to fill up our prayer meetings… we pray for the temporary and not the eternal.
Do we worry, pace, pray over the earthy success of our children? Do you do so without regard to their love of Christ?
Do we de-personalize the people around us such that we can escape the reality of their eternity? We feel good to bring their hopes for alleviated pain in this world to the prayer meeting and don’t even see we are praying contrary to God’s will in our alliance with this world.
Do we ignore the most imporant things because we are of the world and not just in it?
Do we pray like board members of a striving healthy business… looking for what would supply us today with hope and success for tomorrow, but not with eternity in view? Are we looking for many seats to be filled in our services or are we looking for Spirit-filled hearts born by the Holy Spirit?
What should earnest prayer look like and how do I begin to pray this way?
Here is a worthy earnest way to pray…
Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you, and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men. For not all have faith. But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one. And we have confidence in the Lord about you, that you are doing and will do the things that we command. May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ. (2 Thessalonians 3:1-5 ESV)
Here is another…
There will be a fight, a constant fight, to keep the devil and the world at bay. The devil will steal, kill and destroy all he can get his hands on. The world will offer to you from a hundred and more voices their own truth… their own wisdom. Even your own flesh will tire and moan and entreat you to back off… relax… take ease. But God calls you to remain true, steadfast, unmovable – ALWAYS abounding in the the work of the Lord.
This is the daily battle… so we must pray earnestly, daily, fervently, biblically, in accordance with the eternal Word. I’ve not done this well, yet I’m seeing today what I did not see before and I’m wanting to go there and fight… on my knees.
Help me Lord, teach me to pray.
Maybe you need to hear this encouragement… this is your God!