August 9, 2018
Romans 15:1-6 The Message (MSG)
To embrace the Lordship of Jesus Christ in every area of our lives means to connect to what he values and the direction he wants us to go in life. The Lord has a plan for our lives; he has positioned the people we will meet and the influence we will be in bringing them to the knowledge of the Savior. Christians are people of influence set up by God. True influence is much more than what we say to people. It is how we make them feel when we are around. Crowds followed Jesus because he made them feel valued when he spoke Truth into their lives. Do people sense Jesus in you?
I imagine many of you reading this devotion can testify to an experience of being with someone who professed Christ, but actually made you feel inadequate by criticizing or condemning your personhood, faith practice, or lifestyle. These are the finger pointers in life; they hold themselves as the standard of true Christianity and judge everyone else around. It’s a pride issue in their lives, because Jesus never did that to people. In fact, when the religious leaders brought to Jesus the woman who was caught in adultery and asked him to judge her, he first turned to these leaders and asked which one of them was without sin. They did not care how they made this woman feel; they extended her zero worth. They were bent on framing Jesus as an unholy man. Jesus did not condone her adulterous lifestyle, but he loved her into a change by helping her see a bigger picture of her life than she was able to see before meeting him. He revealed to her the weakness of others (all humanity has a sin nature) so she did not feel alone and inadequate before a holy God. Jesus covered her shame, extended her personal worth, and influenced her to turn in a new direction; he challenged her to live for God in the strength of God.
The Apostle Paul was not telling the Roman church (or us) to ignore the sin that robs people; we are not to be people pleasers. We are God pleasers. Paul simply was challenging the Christ followers to be “faith influencers for the weak.” We are to be ready in a moment’s notice by being loving influences in the world guiding people to a loving God who alone can bring change. Who will God bring into your realm of influence today? Be ready to love not judge; guide them to Jesus.
15 1-2 Those of us who are strong and able in the faith need to step in and lend a hand to those who falter, and not just do what is most convenient for us. Strength is for service, not status. Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, “How can I help?”
3-6 That’s exactly what Jesus did. He didn’t make it easy for himself by avoiding people’s troubles, but waded right in and helped out. “I took on the troubles of the troubled,” is the way Scripture puts it. Even if it was written in Scripture long ago, you can be sure it’s written for us. God wants the combination of his steady, constant calling and warm, personal counsel in Scripture to come to characterize us, keeping us alert for whatever he will do next. May our dependably steady and warmly personal God develop maturity in you so that you get along with each other as well as Jesus gets along with us all. Then we’ll be a choir—not our voices only, but our very lives singing in harmony in a stunning anthem to the God and Father of our Master Jesus!
Prayer: Lord, thank you for the mercy you always extend and for the influence you become to others through me as I yield to your Lordship. In Jesus’ name. Amen.