Part 5 – Prayerfulness, Gratitude, and God’s Will
As Paul completes his ‘introduction’ to his Letter to the Church at Rome – an introduction that is not frivolous, but is actually quite ‘meaty’, he spends some time saying some things about his character (but not with the intention of boasting about himself) that are significant and noteworthy for you and I as 21st-century Christians to consider. We see in verses eight through fifteen of this first chapter that Paul is:
1. Prayerful: Just as Jesus depended completely on His Father, and that dependence was displayed through Jesus’ dependence on prayer, Paul was one who recognized the importance of prayer in his daily life. He prayed continually for the Roman Church – and he hardly knew them!! Okay, so we can’t be praying 24-7, nor can we pray for every person on the planet, but the point here is simply that we ought to remain, as often as possible, in an attitude of prayer or God-consciousness, which will consistently remind us of our dependence on the Lord.
2. Grateful: Paul was a thankful man of God. Interestingly, Paul’s gratitude isn’t about some blessing that has come directly to him, but rather he is thankful to the Lord God because He has opened the eyes and hearts of the Jews and Gentiles of Rome in order for them to come to a saving faith. Because Paul is a part of the body of Christ – as all Christians are – he rejoices in their salvation and gives the Lord God all the glory (and thanks) because “salvation is of the Lord”.
3. He reminds all believers that every blessing we have as redeemed children of God is ‘through Christ’ or because we are ‘in Christ’. Our righteousness is not a righteousness that we have earned or deserve, but it is Christ’s righteousness.
4. Paul desired to visit the Christians in Rome on his way to Spain. Paul had ‘plans’, which we should all have, but he also wanted to wait upon the Lord and make sure it was the Lord’s will that he’d go or not go to Rome. Of course, he eventually got to Rome – but as a prisoner. This brought up the issue or doctrine or practice of knowing and walking in God’s will. Sometimes we make ‘understanding or knowing God’s will’ something much more complicated than it needs to be.
Although there are certainly some biblical and practical things that we can “do” to hear the Lord’s voice more clearly in discerning His will for us, the simplest thing for the Christian to do is to simply walk with Jesus. As we draw close to the Lord through His Word, prayer, fellowship, counsel, Bible teaching, spiritual disciplines, etc. we will more ‘naturally’ hear the Lord’s voice concerning what we are to do or not do. We won’t have to jump through any mystifying spiritual hoops to know what the Lord wants, because – since He desires that we know what His will is – as we grew in our love and joy of the Lord and His presence it will become more and more natural to hear what it is that He has called us to do.
And even if we ‘blow it’ and get ahead of the Lord, in His grace and mercy, He will dust us off and get us back on the right track once again. Aren’t you glad that God’s Word is so practical? Keep these things in mind, and walk in them.