Sunday, August 11, 2013

Striving Together for the Faith

(The following is from a recent message I preached from Romans 15.  I trust it is a blessing and an encouragement to you.)

Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me.  –Romans 15:30 (KJV)

What do you make of the word strive?  This is more than work and it is more than involvement.  This is intense labor and enduring commitment.  Striving is when we are involved in a cause and we are not going to turn back from it nor turn away from it.  Our cause is the gospel of Jesus Christ.  God’s challenges us in His Word to be involved in the work of the gospel; Jesus has commanded and God’s Word has challenged us not to just work, but to strive.  Strive also means to struggle, endeavor, go all out, and do our best.  Is anything in this description indicating a half-hearted approach to the gospel?  No, it indicates full commitment.  Just as Jesus has saved us completely, He calls us to commit ourselves fully to Him.  If we are committed to Christ, we are committed to the gospel.  We are striving together for the faith.

Paul’s request in verse 30 to the believers was a plea.  His was an earnest desire for them to go all out for the cause of Christ.  Hold nothing back in your commitment to Jesus Christ.  We might need to confess that many times we were sleeping on the job.  If you are a soldier and you are found sleeping at your post on guard duty, I am sure there would be a penalty for that, perhaps a severe penalty.  Jesus warned that the Spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak (Matthew 26:41).  To deny the flesh is to rise up earlier for prayer when we would rather be sleeping.  The body needs sleep and we know this is important, but if we will plan our days right we can get enough sleep and still arise early enough to spent ample time in prayer.

What are ways we strive for the gospel?  Here are examples:
Come out of our comfort zones.
Be willing to step out on faith.
Delve deeper into the Word than ever before.
Go deeper into prayer than ever before.
Get past our embarrassment or awkwardness about testifying for Christ.
Be involved in the work of the ministry.
Make worship and church involvement a priority.

We do this not for our sake, but for Christ’s sake.  Moreover, as the Bible says here, for the love of the Spirit.  How great is our love for God?  How great is our desire for the Spirit to control us rather than the flesh?  The answer to these questions will determine our willingness to strive for the faith and for the gospel of Jesus Christ.

God bless you today.