Read: Romans 5: 1-5
Reflect: This week, we are talking about our word, “audacious.” Beth has established a working definition for us, and we’ve seen audacity exhibited in specific Bible characters.
I pray our reading in Ephesians has allowed you to see that our living audaciously for Christ has been made possible by the audacious way He lived and died for us.
Today, I want us to spend a little bit of time looking at one of the major obstacles we’ll face if we attempt to live with purpose: Hopelessness.
I can’t describe to you all of the times I’ve battled hopelessness, but I can tell you it’s been debilitating. There have been times that I’ve gotten up from a quiet time with the Lord feeling such joy and faith in my calling only to fall to negative thinking by the time I reached the breakfast table with my children. My thought life will spiral into, “this will never change,” “ we’ll never be able to change this…..,” or “why won’t God just change these circumstances.” You’d probably wonder why you’re reading anything I have to say if you knew how many times I let the Enemy win by sending me into hopelessness.
Or, maybe because of my failures you will choose to listen a little more closely when I echo Beth’s words, “HOPELESSNESS IS A LIAR!” Sweet friends, Satan is hopeless, and he knows it. He speaks in hopelessness, because he knows the feeling. He wants us to know it too. BUT, we don’t have to!
Respond: Before we read one more chapter, let’s deal with hopelessness. When you look at the visions and callings that God has been stirring within you during this particular Bible study, what specific areas of hopelessness keep popping up.
I always want to be honest with you…. Since the beginning of the year, God has placed a number of ideas and visions in my heart for things I’d like to do with Him. As I’m praying and planning, I get really excited. I’m anxious to cooperate with God and see His plans fulfilled. Every time, though, hopelessness will threaten to take over as I battle thoughts like, I can’t do something like that! How would I ever have time? How could I ever plan something like that and stick with it?
That’s a very simple example, and I will go much deeper in my journal. I want you to be just as specific. Personalize your hopelessness and journal the ways hopelessness threatens your calling.
Renew: We desperately need Jesus to redeem our thought life, and it will start with renewed hope. Throughout this day, repeat the cycle to hope over and over… tribulation (the negative event or thought) to perseverance, to proven character, to hope. And, ladies, hope does not disappoint. Let’s ask God to shorten the distance from trial to hope. Let’s use our Ephesians prayer to ask God to open our eyes so that we can see (always see) hope that doesn’t disappoint.
“There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary -- we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit.”
Romans 5: 3-5 (Message Version)
I'm including a sermon jam link of John Piper reading our Romans passage. Enjoy!