Friday, October 24, 2008

Groans of the Spirit

In Romans 8:26-27, we read the following from Paul,

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

Now listen to words of Stuart Olyott concerning these two verses:

For years I have been mystified by all those hymns that start with 'O'. These are seventy-six of them in the latest edition of Christian Hymns. Why do some many hymns begin with 'O', as well as so many individual verses and choruses? It is because there is something going on inside us which cannot be expressed. It comes to the surface as a groan. But it is not our groan, says the apostle; it is the groan of the Spirit. . . . Here we are in this world, with Spirit-given aches and groans inside us. We long for the redemption of our bodies, the resurrection, and the new heavens and earth. We long to be out of this world and away from its filth. We long to be where there is perfect purity and holiness, and therefore perfect happiness. The very fact that we have these groans inside us is God's proof to us that we will have the destination that we want. This inward Spirit-voices speech is a further guarantee that the present order will not go on forever and that, despite our present sufferings, we are on our way to glory

Do you understand what Olyott is talking about? Do you see it in these hymns of saints written by saints of the past. Does the Spirit intercede for you with these groans which are too deep for human words spoken in prayer. All true believers experience this, but perhaps they experience it more on those occasion when they have come to the end of their strength. As these verses show, it is in our weakness that the Spirit works these deep groanings within us. And as they also teach, these groanings are according to the perfect will of God. God knows what is for our absolute best and good, which is what Paul goes on to show in the following verses in Romans 8, and He sends His Spirit to intercede within us prayers that are according to His will. The next time you see a hymn which starts or includes the word 'O' think of these verses.

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