By: Bill Wattenbarger, PhD
In Chapter 8 of Romans, Paul develops his ideas about being heirs of God. He says we no longer live in the realm of the flesh. Rather, we live in the realm of the Spirit.
This Holy Spirit lives within and brings righteousness to, we who belong to Christ. We become the children of God. Consequently, the surrendered life is no longer about our worldly affairs.
The Spirit does not enslave. God becomes approachable as our Abba Father. As His children, we are freely led by the Spirit. We inherit the Father’s estate and we must share in this station with Christ himself. But there is an obligation. We must share in His suffering if we are to share in His glory.
The Spirit strengthens us in our weakness. When we do not know what to pray, He prays with us and through us. He intercedes with the Father for every need and request. He makes whatever happens to work to fulfill His purposes.
Armed with this truth, Paul then asks on our behalf, who can condemn us? Who can separate us from the love of Christ? Not trouble, hardship, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger or sword; neither death nor life, angels nor demons, present nor future, powers, heights, depths nor anything else. If God is for us, we share in His inevitable victory over sin and evil.
So, with all this, why would we ever seek counseling? Perhaps we forget who we are in Christ and resume our focus on our worldly affairs. Perhaps we forsake or neglect our spiritual disciplines. Perhaps we have never known of God’s love for us in Jesus and have yet to surrender our lives and selves to Him. Perhaps we fail to take these assertions seriously, at face value. Perhaps we have given God’s adversaries too much credit, accepted their lies and deception, discounted these promises and abandoned our post. Perhaps we have compromised our convictions or sold out our eternal inheritance for short-term goals. Perhaps we have dropped our guard, preferring comfort over the suffering with Christ which is part of the promise. If for these or any other “reasons,” we forsake our fellowship with the Holy Spirit we slide back under the condemnation of the law, sin, slavery, and death.
Fellowshipping with the Holy Spirit is the essential foundation of the inheritance. It’s not about losing our salvation. God will continue to consider us as his children and pursue us in every way we allow. Nevertheless, when we accept His forgiveness but reject His transformation, we cut ourselves off from the promises of Romans 8. We serve in order to undo the works of the sin and evil we encounter in this sometimes dark world. God’s children are not spared the hardships and assaults of this life. We just suffer them differently, as heirs to the Kingdom, as co-sufferers in Christ, with the Father’s authority to overrule and overcome all things not ordained of God.
Bill Wattenbarger joined the Joy House team in May of 2015 to work in the Counseling Center. He provides biblical, Christian and pastoral counseling services to those who are hurting, confused or overwhelmed. He earned a Master’s Degree from the University of Florida and a Doctoral degree in Counseling from the University of Georgia. The Joy House Counseling Center exists for the purpose of providing a faith-based option for residents of the Highway 575/ 515 corridor who seek guidance with life’s problems. We have locations in Pickens, Gilmer, and Cherokee Counties with fees based on income and ability to pay. We offer counseling to all ages, from 7 to 70, with professional services to a wide variety of individuals, families and their needs. Contact our Counseling Center via phone at 678-452-2037 for more information.