This scripture has run through my mind for three days. The word that strikes me more than any is “amid”. Amid…in the midst of, while the war is raging, during the trial, not after…AMID, ALL these things we are MORE than conquerors….
As I pondered this scripture, I thought of the author of Romans and what had to be happening to him as he wrote it. Paul was not imprisoned at this time but had been imprisoned earlier for the cause of Christ. I don’t know of anyone who went through more persecution than Jesus other than Paul!
Paul suffered so many things. Paul suffered shipwreck, snake bite, stoning, being beaten, locked in stocks where his legs were held out straight and his back was bent and his hands locked into place at his feet for hours, possibly days at a time! Yet, Paul could write when he wasn’t in stocks, in the midst of it all, he and the church were more than conquerors! Amazing!
The prison systems we have today are no picnic but they are governed and have set regulations so they are not considered inhumane, but still carry a definite punishment. In Paul’s day there were no regulations. Prisons were a horror. You can imagine the living conditions. No formal plumbing, stench and bacteria surrounded the prisoners. There was no health department to make sure the bacteria didn’t make it into the food they were served. Disease and death were all around because the conditions were so deplorable. If the absolute filth didn’t get you, the prisoners would. During the time of Nero when arenas were filled with people excited to see Christians slaughtered and literally eaten alive by lions while Nero played his fiddle and as the crowds cheered, can you only imagine what they thought should be punishable by imprisonment. It had to be horrendous.
Romans was not written while Paul was in prison but at the end of his third missionary journey. Paul had known persecution and prison before he wrote this letter to the Romans, and as we know, would face death for teaching and proclaiming the gospel. Yet Paul still wrote “amid all these things….” Many of us get upset over such small and trivial things such as when we get home and realize we forgot a grocery item and have to turn around and go back and get it! Or when someone says something we don’t like or care to hear.
As I thought of this scripture and all that Paul had gone through with such a good attitude, I was headed to the city. This particular day had been a hard one for me. I began to compare my “hard day” with Paul’s life of “hard days”. Still, nonetheless, it was a day I was ready to put behind me!
I was crossing a bridge that brings me to another town before I get to the city and something caught my eye. I looked up and the sky was particularly cloudy. A cold front was heading our way and rain clouds had rolled in, but in the MIDST of those clouds there was a hole in the middle of the clouds. It was ever so slight but through that hole came literal beams of light!! God spoke to my heart and said, “No matter how dark it seems, the sun is still shining just as brightly as ever behind the darkness and there will be a break in the clouds!”
I went about another ten miles and looked up again. In the midst of all the storm clouds, in one place, they had totally broken and the sun was visible with all of its light! In that particular spot, instead of dreariness there was utter radiance as though it were spring instead of fall.
That is how it is in our lives. When our health seems to be faltering, when a loved one leaves and our world seems to be crashing all around us, when Christmas is fast approaching and the company hands out pink slips, when you feel as though you are facing the world alone and have no idea where help will come from this time, the SON is still shining and a break will come in the clouds of your life! You and I are MORE than conquerors in the great big middle of it all! How? Through Christ Jesus Who gives us a SURPASSING victory! We don’t barely make it through! We make it through and gain ground because of Jesus and what HE has done!
The fight is not ours, but the rest from battling is. The victory is not ours to be won, but to be taken hold of and received! How do we do this? By resting in faith in God’s word and His integrity to keep it! By knowing what HE says about our situations and the promise He has made to ALWAYS deliver us out of them to a higher and blessed place! Just as it says in our scripture, we are “conquerors THROUGH” Christ Jesus who loves us!
Love always wins…always! No matter what the situation you are facing, this time is no different! God has made a covenant (a binding contract) with us that cannot be broken by Him. He tells us in His Word, when the sun fails to shine and the moon fails to appear, when night no longer turns to day and day to night, only then can that covenant be broken. That is a stout and remaining promise! Did the sun shine today? Did night come? If the answer is yes, and we know it is, then the promise holds! You hold to the promise, too!
Blessings to you, precious reader! I will see you soon!
Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. Romans 10:9-10
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
37 Yet amid all these things we are more than conquerors [a]and gain a surpassing victory through Him Who loved us.
Romans 6:7 tells us we’re set free from the power of sin. That doesn’t mean we won’t ever sin again. But we’re set free from the power of sin, which I believe is shame and guilt. If we’re in Christ, we don’t have to feel that way anymore. We can be sorry and then ask God to forgive us, and He absolutely will. The Bible says there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (see Romans 8:1 NIV).
In Christ, we’re set free from our own self-hatred, self-rejection and self-doubt. There are so many people in the world who do not like themselves. But the Bible doesn’t really give us that choice. It says God formed you in your mother’s womb, made you with His own hand—and everything He does is good. So if you’re going to live by the Word, you’re going to have to make the decision to like yourself.
God created us to please Him, which sets us free from the need to please people.. That doesn’t mean we don’t want to be good to people. It means we’re set free from the tyranny of people’s rejection, criticisms, judgments and misunderstandings.
Think about it this way: When a child gets teased at school, they run home to their parents who inevitably tell them, “It’s okay. We love you. We think you’re great. It doesn’t matter what anybody else says or thinks.” Then the child starts to feel a lot better.
Well, when we feel like we’ve been hurt, we have the freedom to run to God and tell Him how we feel. And inevitably, He’ll saying something like, “Well, I love you and I think you’re pretty wonderful. And it doesn’t matter what anybody says—I haven’t given up on you.”
I don’t know about you, but whenever God talks to me, I always end up feeling pretty good!
In Christ, we’re free to step out and try something new. Making a mistake shouldn’t make one bit of difference to us because God isn’t worried about our earthly success; He’s interested in our heart. He wants to see if we’re willing to step out and do what we feel is right.
In Christ, you’re also free to enjoy life…to enjoy God…to enjoy yourself. He delights in you. And in Christ, we’re free to be secure and comfortable with anybody, anywhere—poor or rich, highly educated or not.
According to Galatians 2:6, God isn’t impressed by titles or reputations or the positions people hold on earth. We can wear ourselves out trying to impress each other, but God’s not impressed. We may think associating with people who we think are important makes us important; but it’s not what makes you important to God.
The reason you are important is because you’re in Christ and He’s in you. How much more important can you get?