“For which cause also I have been much hindered from coming to you.” (Romans 15:22, KJV 1900)
Serving the Lord is the greatest thing that we can do in our lifetime. Yet, it has repercussions on our earthly lives. Jesus put it this way, “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24, KJV 1900) There is an earthly cost to this service, but there is also great reward. The point is that to serve the Lord requires a denial of self. To be on point with Him nearly always will require us to give up on our own fleshly wants and desires.
Paul here writes to the believers in Rome that he had a longing to visit them but had been hindered from this. The reason that he was not able to do so was that his mission to preach the gospel in other Gentile regions had kept him from making the trip. Now, as his mission was complete in those regions, he was able to break loose and stop in Rome to meet them while on route to Spain. He had a deep desire to visit Rome, but the Lord’s mission for him had until this time prevented him.
Now Paul could have at any time decided to do what he wanted to do and forsake the Lord’s plan for him. He could have said, the heck with it. I’m going to Rome. But Paul was a servant of the Lord. And a servant of the Lord forsakes his own wants and desires for the purposes of the Master.
The point here is that every believer is a servant of the Lord. We may not be called to be a preacher that would tour unreached people groups such as Paul did. Yet, we all are called to do something for the Lord and most often it will require us to give up on our own wants and desires. We may be called to put our own interests on hold, like Paul did here or give them up completely.
I always had a dream of living in a waterfront home. Many years ago, my wife and I had found a waterfront property upon which I thought we could build a house. It was affordable and nothing was holding us to Savannah Georgia. As I prayed about this, the Lord impressed upon me that this was not the plan for us. So, I gave up this dream. It was not long after this that the Lord called me to the pastorate and to start a church in Savannah.
It is not easy to give up or surrender your own wants and desires. Yet, when we get down the road and look back, we will see that the Lord’s ways are the best for us. I am so grateful that the Lord directed us they way He did. Looking back at it, giving up on the dream achieved something much greater in our lives than I could have imagined.
Paul understood this. Look at his words. “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:18, KJV 1900) Follow the will of the Lord even if it means surrendering your own wants and desires. You will not be disappointed in glory.