ARE YOU JOINING IN WITH THE GROANING?
- Key Verse
- For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. (Romans 8:22-23)
- READ THE CHAPTER
The entire creation is groaning and longing for the return of Jesus Christ and to be redeemed from its bondage to sin and death.
ReflectionsFor most of my life I did not believe in God. I spent my life pursuing satisfaction and fulfillment in material things. I literally groaned and longed for that great job I desired, or that new car I wanted to drive, or that vacation destination I wanted to visit. But I found that when I received any of these things, they did not provide the joy and fulfillment I thought they would bring. I was still longing for something more.
When Christ saved me from my addictions to drugs, alcohol, and worldly living, I was forever changed. According to 2 Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come." I began reading the Word, praying, and surrounding myself with others who could "spur [me] on toward love and good deeds" (Hebrews 10:24, NIV). I was living a new life in Christ and felt true joy for the first time.
As I look at the world today, and I see wars, rumors of wars, earthquakes, famines, and signs in the heavens spoken of by Jesus in Matthew 24, I am reminded of the nearness of His return. For nine months, I watched my wife battle the "pains of childbirth" as she moved closer to the birth of Grace. Though it was hard to witness the one I love going through such painful experiences, God reminded me of the promise that was awaiting us on the other side. I knew there was a day coming in which "new life" would burst forth, and the pain of the present time would be but a distant memory.
As we walk through the trials and tribulations ahead, may we be reminded of God's steadfast love for us. May we join in with the groaning and long for His return. May we groan no longer for temporary things but for Him who is eternal, whose name is Yahweh, the maker of heaven and earth, the everlasting God of our salvation! He is standing at the door and knocking (Revelation 3:20)!
Discussion Questions1. Do you hear Christ knocking at the door of your heart?
2. What worldly things do you long for that are keeping you from intimacy with Christ?
3. What desires do you have that do not align with the desires of God's heart as revealed to us in Scripture?
4. Do you groan and long for Christ's return?
WEEKLY FAMILY ACTIVITY
Romans 8-12 (June 4-9)
Read Romans 12:1-8.
* What does it mean to be a living sacrifice to God?
* How does this show your worship of Him?
* In what ways are you tempted to copy the "patterns of this world"?
* What does it mean to let God transform (change) the way you think? (Read as a family 2 Corinthians 3:18 and Galatians 5:22-26.)
* The Scripture says we all have something that is useful for the church body, what is that "something" in your life?
* Do you know what your gifts and abilities are?
* How can you use these to bring glory to God?
Activity: Get two pieces of blank paper for every person. On the first piece of paper, draw the earth. Within the earth, write or draw the things that represent the "patterns of this world" (examples: being all about money, popularity, success, grades, wearing inappropriate clothes to be "cool," etc.).
On the second piece of paper, draw a bowl of fruit and write all the ways you can be transformed by God changing you.