“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” – Romans 15:13
What an incredible prayer that Paul offers for us here. His desire is that we would experience a filling, a stilling and a spilling through believing the Gospel, and in dependence upon the powerful presence of the Holy Spirit. Away with the false notion that the Christian’s experience is primarily doctrinal, theological or intellectual. As committed as I am to Truth, worshiping God is not foremost an affirmation of sound theology. While I praise God for the doctrine that frames up my understanding of who He is and what He is doing, my worship of Jesus Christ is not a spiritual spreadsheet of theological facts. Our worship is primarily relational – and this makes it also intimate, emotional and animated. Worship is more of a dance than it is a flash-card of truth. What is written in scriptural truth is to be lived out in adoring love toward the One who came and kissed our souls with everlasting life. I preached on Christian community yesterday – our doing life together in the shared life of Jesus Christ. Every time the Church gathers together, I hope those meetings are so much of a dance than they are spiritual classroom experience. Can we not study and memorize and recite all during the week? We can and we should. Doctrine is essential, for without it we become like the woman at the well whom Jesus told that she worshiped God in empty ignorance. We must bring all of that precious knowledge of Him to an appointed time and place wherein we gather with His other children, and there we celebrate Him in Spirit and Truth. Worship is a wedding dance with the Groom.
Read that verse again from the top of this post and notice the words used: Filled. Joy. Peace. Belief. Power. Abundance. Hope. These are the elements that the apostle Paul prayed for us to experience as we live out this beautiful relationship with King Jesus. Read it again and ask if this prayer is being made alive in your relationship with Christ. Do we not want this to be our experience? Of course we do. Theology is a means to this end. Knowledge is to be unto something, not a cul de sac where we throw down our tent stakes and perpetually camp out. The verse above is primarily about us experiencing what we believe. To know that God is great, but to not experience the funnel-through of His greatness in our lives would be maddening. We need to know, but we also need to experience what we know.
May His prayers be demonstrably answered for us this week whenever we meet together in order to honor the majestic Son of God who is Jesus Christ the Lord.
Without apology, I wish to be filled, stilled and spilled on this very day.