Paul eagerly desires that Christians in the church in Rome understand the role of the Spirit in overcoming weakness. Paul, no stranger to weakness himself, declares that the Spirit works as an advocate for us, praying what we do not know to pray ourselves. Paul helps us realize that often we cannot see within our own hearts to discover what limits us or keeps us from being the follower Jesus calls us to be. Therefore, the Spirit prays for us as God searches our heart, and we discover the shortcomings in our lives that keep us from being the person God created us to be.
We are called to live fully human. It has been said that when we get to heaven and meet God, God isn’t going to ask us, “How come you weren’t more like so and so.” Instead, God will ask, “How come you weren’t the person I created you to be?” When our weaknesses are uncovered and we experience transforma- tion or conformity toward the likeness of Jesus, we live into our true image—people created to bear the image of God, which is a holy love.
People who have accepted the invitation to proclaim the gospel by living into the image in which God created us through holy love are justified. The saving work of Jesus covers us. As a result of this gospel living, we exemplify human weakness made spiritually strong.
Our own right doing does not make us strong. We become strong through the grace of God who creates good from our bad (weaknesses), the saving work of Jesus who covers us, and the ongoing advocacy of the Spirit who guides us toward a life of transformation and conformity.
God, through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit help us see our weaknesses. Strengthen us and use us as examples of what it means to live the way you intended. Amen.
In the Genesis text, Jacob the trickster is tricked. Yet through a combination of patience and perseverance he ultimately wins Rachel, which sets the stage for all that follows in the story of Abraham’s family. Psalm 105 addresses a forgetful community that has lost touch with the God of the Exodus. Remembering becomes a powerful experience when it focuses on both God’s actions and God’s judgments. Romans 8 also serves as a reminder of God’s way, of God’s movements from knowledge to action, from saving grace to promised glory. The scribe of Matthew’s short parable brings out of the store- house both what is new and what is old. There is no true future without a remembrance of the past.
• Read Genesis 29:15-28. When have you experienced a setback due to poor treatment at the hands of someone you trusted? What did you learn?
• Read Psalm 105:1-11, 45b. How do you “seek God’s face”? How do you offer thanks to God?
• Read Romans 8:26-39. Consider Paul’s three questions and formulate a one- or two-sentence answer of your own.
• Read Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52. How do the parables about what the kingdom of God is like surprise you? How do they shock you?
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