who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? as it is written,
“for your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
no, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. for i am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. [romans 8:35–39]
maybe it’s just me, but this is one of those passages that reads like a halftime locker room speech. it makes me want to run through a brick wall for Jesus. just reading it gets me hyped! “more than conquerors!” yes, Jesus – let’s go! let’s conquer all of these things! but as i was sitting with these verses in prep to write this post i was struck by something convicting…
this battle is only worth fighting if the love of Christ is a worthwhile prize.
in these verses paul tells us that…
- the trouble comes because of Jesus (“for your sake we are being killed”)
- victory comes through Jesus (“we are more than conquerors through him”)
- the spoils of victory are Jesus (“nothing will separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord”)
there’s nothing here that says, “in Christ you will get to avoid all possible distress, persecution, and danger.” in fact, paul says because you are united with Christ all of these things will try to separate you from him. they won’t succeed because Christ is stronger. but, they will try. the thing that was convicting to me was this question, “is the love of Jesus reason enough for me to endure all of these things?” if i come out on the other side, will i be satisfied with Jesus as the prize? not only that, but is the presence of Jesus sufficient enough to sustain me in the midst of all these things?
the answer, to steal the words i heard from a wise friend earlier this week, “i can’t un-meet Jesus.” i’ve met the creator of the universe and he is the standard of beauty, love, and power. so yes! i know personally that he is more than enough to sustain me and that there is no better prize than relationship with Jesus!
so today i encourage you to join me in two things – rejoice and give thanks that you have met Jesus (and if you haven’t met him, let today be the day)! and spend time with Jesus, being reminded that he is more than enough in every way and there is no more precious thing to grasp than the love of Christ!
“the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. [matthew 13:44]