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WORD FROM THE CENTER: MONDAY, JULY 27, 2020

Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections on His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s verses are Romans 8:37-39, where the Bible says,

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

CHRIST-CONQUERING CONFIDENCE FOR YOU!

 

Confidence makes a big difference in our performance, especially when the pressure is on. Some say that ability isn’t enough if one isn’t confident as well. I can attest to that. In my basketball playing days, a confidence born of practice, training, and running would create that “calm in the storm” which helped you perform to the best of your ability in the big game. At the highest levels of competition in sports, business, and even battle, preparation matters. Yet, when it counts most, courageous confidence is often the difference between winning and losing. The abundance or absence of confidence determines the outcome. Confidence in your abilities, strength, and talents can also make a big difference in how well you deal with the issues that you are facing today.

But this text speaks of something infinitely greater than your confidently executed finest efforts.  Romans 8:37 speaks of a confidence that you can have “in all things” (verse 37), even when you feel overwhelmed, beaten down, or without hope (see verses 35-36). This text speaks of a confidence born of the fact that Jesus has fought for you and conquered all the things that stand against you. He is also inviting you to receive His blood-bought victory as a gift which instills you with confidence to face whatever is before you at the moment. Throughout this chapter, the Apostle Paul is constantly reminding us that in ALL THINGS God is “for us” in Jesus Christ (see verses 31-32). Even at the moments of our greatest challenges, even amidst our greatest despair, nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ. Yes, all things do indeed work together for good for those who love Him (Romans 8:28).

I call that “Christ-conquering confidence.” It gives those who trust in Him the courage to face all things with the assurance that He will have the last say in our lives. And when Jesus has the last say, that is a very good thing indeed. Let me share with you a little exercise that I find helpful when I feel overwhelmed by things. At those times when I lack confidence, I voice out loud my confidence in my Savior Jesus. I remind myself that His victory is already my victory and His perseverance is already mine as well. I still remember the sermon which challenged me to do this exercise. Pastor Roger Robinson, my partner in ministry at Immanuel Lutheran, Brandon, FL, reminded us that, because of Jesus’ cross and resurrection, no matter what troubles we might be facing, be they our struggles, griefs, or pains, all of them are temporary, fleeting inconveniences compared to our ultimate blessing in Christ. That exercise wasn’t wishful thinking or an academic exercise for him. Roger had various physical infirmities that made each day a real challenge. But that boldness to look at ongoing pain as something temporary and fleeting made him the joy-filled pastoral presence in our lives that all of us remember to this day.

Exercise that confidence in Christ today. When we face things from Christ’s viewpoint and recall His conquering work on our behalf, our problems shrink in comparison. Romans 8 reminds us Jesus is more than a “wing man” watching our backs. He is the resurrected Savior of the world and He is with us always. Faith in Christ produces Christ-conquering confidence for life. Martin Luther said such “faith is a living, daring confidence in God's grace, so sure and certain that a man could stake his life on it a thousand times.”[1] Indeed, he did, and we can too in those Reformation proclamations of salvation by Grace Alone, through Faith Alone, in Christ Alone!

PRAYER – Dear Lord, give us more than mere confidence in ourselves and our own abilities. Give us the confidence that comes through faith in all that You have done for us, a “Christ-conquering confidence” to face the challenges of life each day until we see You face to face. AMEN.

 

[1] Martin Luther, “Preface to the Epistle to the Romans,” American Edition, volume 35.

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