Don't Mess With Pops

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, July 22, 2015 0 comments

by Logan Ames

If your childhood was at all like mine, you had your fair share of verbal, and maybe even physical, spats with other children. This especially happened to me once I was old enough to be out on my own with friends. I spent a lot of time with my friends doing “manly” things, such as playing sports, exploring the woods nearby, racing bikes, and building ramps to do bike jumps and tricks. Not surprisingly, these activities brought out the macho side in all of us. No one wanted to be considered “chicken” when the time came to take a risk to impress our friends. No one wanted to lose at sports either, for along with losing came being on the wrong end of trash-talking and boasting. As immature boys, this is where some of the battles began. Like anyone, I’d win some and lose some. No matter what, we’d all come back together the next time for competition and rivalry. And even if our battles occasionally went too far, we would remain friends.

One of the things that gave me boldness as a child and even into my adolescent years was that I had a “card” I could play in just about any of those situations. I lacked confidence and maturity at times as a teenager and that got me into some situations that I should’ve avoided. But when a friend, or even an enemy, was bigger or more confident than me and would try to use their size or their language to intimidate me, I could always say something like, “My dad can take you." I could tell them that if they were going to mess with me, they’d have to mess with my dad as well. My friends knew that my dad was a police officer (which of course they mainly associated with guns) and also that he was built like a ton of bricks. Our dad taught us to never start a fight, but that it was okay to defend ourselves. As I got to know Jesus, I learned about “turning the other cheek." But my peers didn’t need to know I had learned that!

If I had any trouble whatsoever, I knew my dad would have my back. But that was when I was a child and he was partially responsible for whatever might happen to me. He won’t be around forever. As an adult, I am on my own. That is, until I became a child of God. If you look at my previous posts from Romans 8, you can see how the Apostle Paul is reminding the believers in Rome of all the blessings they receive as children of God. These include not having to fear condemnation, knowing a hope beyond the suffering, being co-heirs with Christ of God’s glory, and being guided by a Spirit who intercedes on our behalf. This week, we are looking at Romans 8:31-39. The blessing of this section can be summed up in verse 37, where we see that we are “more than conquerors through him who loved us." There is great truth in this declaration. Before we look at the “more” part of it, let’s look at the fact that we truly ARE conquerors, because I’m not sure that most Christians live it.

In verse 31, Paul states that the only appropriate response to the understanding that we are God’s adopted children and the blessings that come with it is to say, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” The reality of the fallen world is that many were against Jesus, so many will also be against us because we follow him. However, we have the Creator of the entire universe on OUR side! That means that even when people choose to be against us, they have no power over us. They can’t even really do anything to affect us without God giving them the freedom to do so. Paul himself experienced this many times as detailed in the book of Acts. On several occasions, he was nearly killed by those who opposed him, but he wasn’t actually put to death until God decided he had finished his race. Even when it feels like our enemies are winning or have defeated us, we have assurance that our Father is still in control and will take care of business. The Jews and Romans both thought they had rid the world of the problem that was Jesus of Nazareth, who claimed to be the long-awaited Messiah. The problem for them was that they messed with his “daddy." God’s power raised Jesus from the dead, showing the world that even a torturous death and the grave have no power over those whom God is FOR.

Your next thought might be to wonder who God is actually for. As I said earlier, Paul is writing this letter to the BELIEVERS in Rome. Having already declared that we are adopted as God’s children, we know that God is on our side the way any parent is with their children. As he told Joshua, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Joshua 1:5). Even when we hurt or dishonor him and we experience those consequences, he is still our “daddy” and still has our back. The only way that changes is if we completely forsake him and don’t ever return. Short of that, we remain his children and Christ, who conquered death itself, intercedes for us at the right hand of our Father (Romans 8:34). If God’s power enabled him to conquer death and he intercedes on OUR behalf, there is nothing in this world that we can’t conquer. Things and people might be against us, but they cannot STAND against us. They should be warned that it isn’t wise to mess with our Pops!

That leads us to the powerful verses that Paul uses to wrap up this section. He says, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present not the future, nor any powers, 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” (Romans 8:38-39). This, to me, is the essence of being MORE than conquerors. Our adoption as children of God doesn’t just give us the ability to trust him to defend us, it also gives us security that his love is unconditional. There is nothing that can separate us from it. It reminds me of the parable of the lost son in Luke 15:11-32. No matter what the wasteful son did, his father still desperately loved him and desired his return. When he made the choice to return, he found the same love he had left. He was temporarily separated from his father, but NEVER separated from his father’s love.

As children of God, we have the same security in his love. But we need to be cautioned that even though God loves us, we CAN be separated from him. This only happens when we turn and walk away from him and never come back. The prodigal son was given a second chance, but it isn’t guaranteed for anyone. Ecclesiastes 7:2 says, “Death is the destiny of everyone; the living should take this to heart." If you have walked away from God and decided not to serve him, please know that he will welcome you back and celebrate your return, because you were a conqueror and a child of God and were never separated from his love. But it’s your choice whether or not to return, and someday your time will run out. I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather have him as my “pops,” my defender, and loving Father than to miss out on all he has for me over an attitude of stubbornness. Return to God, and nothing will stand against you!

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.