I really admire our Olympic sports people from across many of the various sporting activities. As I watch them perform in their various disciplines I rarely think of the dedication and faithfulness they have displayed in causing their selection into the Australian Olympic Team. We often do not hear of the ‘before dawn’ training sessions almost every day of the week. We do not hear of the injuries they receive during the times of training and preparation in the build up to the actual Olympic Games. There is little said of the actual costs of their dedication to their particular sporting discipline. Costs such as loss of family time, social interaction, loss of income and the constant impact on their physical body. All this seems to go with being a dedicated sports person. If you want to perform at the highest of levels then discipline, dedication and hard work is required and with it comes pain and sacrifice.
Being a genuine follower of Jesus requires this same attitude, this same discipline and this same sacrifice. Why is it that Christians are sometimes seen as fanatics when they are committed to serving their Lord? Why are we discouraged in being disciplined, dedicated and faithful? It seems to me that if you are to succeed in just about anything in this world you must be a person who is committed, disciplined and prepared to make the necessary sacrifices. It is the same for us Christians. If we want to be aligned with Jesus then we too must follow Him, walk in His footsteps and be prepared for the challenges that come with it. And often suffering in a number of ways comes with it.
Today’s section of Paul’s letter is brilliant! Here we find that if we are prepared to make the sacrifices, walk the hard yards and suffer for our love of Jesus, then the rewards we receive both now and in the future are absolutely mind blowing! There are many highlights in these fourteen or so verses. One highlight is that as we struggle with knowing exactly how and what to pray for, God has given us the Holy Spirit who actually ‘groans’ on our behalf. Another implicit highlight is what awaits us when our physical bodies will be glorified and when we will go to be with God forever! This letter of Paul’s, whilst a challenge in many ways, offers us incredible insight into the joys of being one of God’s specially chosen children!