January 28, 2015

No More Groaning

Romans 8:18-27

We ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.

—  Romans 8:23

On occasion, I'll ask a person how they are doing, and they will say, jokingly, "I can't complain. But, then again, no one would listen anyhow!"

Sometimes, even people who are Christians feel like groaning. We live in a world still broken and corrupted by sin. Lives redeemed by Christ can still feel the effects of sin, death, and decay: marriages struggle, classmates argue, customers complain, friends get injured, communities suffer natural disasters. The creation groans, and we groan too.

Yet the gospel reminds us that our world is not just fallen; it is also being remade. Even in our sufferings God reveals our need for Christ, our need for the Spirit to sustain us. God is teaching us that no matter how much we may feel like groaning, Christ has also given us a new way of speaking. We can see aches and pains as growing pains, transitional discomforts through which God is renewing all things.

Salvation brings the redemption of not only our souls but also our bodies, and of creation as well. The Holy Spirit shapes even everyday challenges in work, school, relationships, and sickness into areas of God's transforming work in us.

Are you in a complaining way today? Let God's Spirit take that groaning and turn it into a new word of praise.

Holy Spirit, show me how Christ’s life is being revealed in me right now. Hear my complaints, and turn them into praise. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

About the author — Joel Vande Werken

Joel Vande Werken has been a pastor since 2007, serving churches in Sussex, New Jersey, and in Whitinsville, Massachusetts. He and his wife, Brandie, have five young children.

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