Have you ever felt like you just need a good dose of encouragement? The older I get, the more that I realize that “life” seems to send its trials your way. I’ll be the first to admit that my life is not characterized by perfect submission and heartfelt praise to God in the midst of my trials (James 1:2). There are times when I (and probably you) simply don’t feel like being joyful during a trial or testing of your faith. The apostle Paul was obviously cognizant of this fact, for he consistently is encouraging the believers in the early church to press on toward the prize (1 Corin. 9:24) and pursue heavenly rewards. Let me offer the following encouragement to you (and myself) from the book of Romans.
Therefore, I urge you brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world ,but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:1-2)
While it is relatively easy to quote a verse on encouragment (thanks Google), it is much harder to live a life according to Romans 12:1-2 as a means of encouragement. Sacrifice and submission to spiritual service are not easy tasks. Breaking out from conformity with the world is even harder. Staring the down the barrel of real transformation, just might be too much to bear! Perhaps, our (my) ability to persevere in joy in the midst of trials is directly related to my daily intake of the mercies of God. For to cry out for God’s mercy on a daily basis, despite the promise that they are new every morning (see Lam. 3:22-23), requires just that…to cry out for God’s mercy on a daily basis! Our self-reliance and culture of achievement may be the largest stumbling block to real spiritual breakthrough and maturity, as least I believe I have found one of mine. Our daily bread from the Lord truly must be daily, just as it was for the Israelites in the wilderness. There was to be no regular storing up of bread, because it would become moldy (just as our spiritual lives).
Join me this week in meeting the Lord at the fountain, instead of relying on moldy spiritual bread to sustain!