Monday, September 19, 2011
In Search Of Truth, Romans 15:1-7
Christians have much more freedom in life, according to the Bible, than many modern Christians believe. But that freedom is in direct proportion to the maturity and strength of their faith and ability to discern the difference between what is helpful to their walk with Christ and what is harmful to it. Another limitation we should always apply to our freedom is based on how our actions effect believers around us. In previous verses, Paul taught that we should refrain from exercising any freedoms that would result in spiritually (and of course physically) harming someone else.
Those who have strong, mature faith, should put it to use supporting other believers who are weaker than they are. (v.1) Our aim should be to act based on what is best for others and what will result in their spiritual growth. (v.2)
Jesus is God of the universe every bit as much as God the Father or the Holy Spirit. He had every right to slam down to the earth in an epic thunderbolt and take for granted that we would fall down in awe and worship him. If anyone was entitled to a life of fun and pleasure, it was Jesus. But as Paul points out, even Jesus didn’t spend his time on earth living to please himself. He lived out what was predicted of him in Psalm 69, in which he is portrayed as someone with numerous enemies, who is wrongfully looked on with disgust and is weary and beaten down by life. There would have been nothing wrong with Jesus simply spending his time on earth exercising his rights and freedoms for his own pleasure. But instead, to bring about an immensely greater scenario, he gave up his rights and freedoms for the sake of others.
Psalm 69 and the life of Christ are examples we are meant to follow. It may not mean that our lives will be tortured and painful from beginning to end. But living as Jesus did means taking advantage of every opportunity we see to strengthen the faith of others and do what is best for them, even at the cost of our own rights and freedoms. And with scripture as our model and source of encouragement, we can see this kind of living not as drudgery, but as an incredibly purposeful path that will multiply our pleasure in eternity. (v.3-4)
Paul prays, as we should, that God, the ultimate source of encouragement and perseverance, would unify us with other believers, getting us “on the same page” in our pursuit of “Christ-like” living, so we can draw the world's attention to who God the Father is, and his relationship to Jesus Christ. (v.5-6)
With this aim in mind, we should get better and better at accepting each other, wrinkles, oddities and all, just like Christ chose to accept us in order to bring about something amazing. (v.7)
Next- Jesus’ Agenda Was All Inclusive
Coffee House Question- What do you think would be the hardest thing for you to set aside or give up, either temporarily or permanently, for the benefit of someone else?