April 22: Romans 15:5-7

photo-79May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus,  that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.

Something that is so wonderful about scripture is that it is always the same, yet we change. As we grow and as we get older and as our situations change, we suddenly see so many more levels of the old familiar passages. This selection comes in a section of Romans in which Paul is talking about bearing with one another, specifically the weaker brothers. He talks about how we should be trying to build each other up, and not because it is fun for us, but because we are prioritizing each other. But the thing that really jumped out at me about this passage was that apparently the things that we need to do this are encouragement and endurance. 
This really made me laugh because it is just so perfect. Isn’t it true that sometimes we bend for a weaker brother – we prioritize something for their sake, and feel like it costs us. But then – nothing happens! They don’t suddenly see it our way. They don’t suddenly realize what an imposition they are in our lives! They just act like they are right! In this context, endurance makes a lot of sense. But so does encouragement. Because when we are trying to build each other up sometimes we are not seeing the results right away. Sometimes you feel like someone just takes your effort and stuffs it into their little bottomless pit.
So here we have this great news that it is our God that is the source of endurance, not our weaker brother’s progress. It is our God who encourages us, not necessarily the results we see in others.
One other thing that I think is especially important about this verse is the very last bit, after the comma. For the glory of God. The super important thing that we absolutely must see is that when we sacrifice ourselves for others, we do it for God’s glory. When the object of our sacrifice grows, or changes, or is built up – it is the work of God. It is so easy to say “Lord, use me here.” Because what we often mean is, “Let me be a vehicle of your love so that I can be the savior here.” The reality is that when we pray, “Lord, use me.” We should mean, “Lord, use me for your glory. Not so that I might be radiant, but so that You will be seen.”
This is an important distinction in all the places that we might be sacrificing ourselves. Bearing with our little children, taking in foster children, reaching out to Meth addicts, dealing with that one fussy bosser woman on the PTA. Dealing with a neighbor, submitting to your husband, picking up someone else’s mess, feeding people who don’t offer to help with the dishes, loving people, having people over whose children make enormous messes that they don’t clean up. We have endless opportunities to bear with each other – not so the other person will see they are wrong, and not so that we will be seen as patient,  but so that God will be glorified. Just remember that He is the God of all endurance and all encouragement.
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7 thoughts on “April 22: Romans 15:5-7

  1. Sometimes I am absolutely amazed at what you have to say. Today has been one of those days that started out Nicely and then quickly deteriorated, I feel like I have nothing left to give and I want to scream!Well I read this , I did NOT scream , and many thanks to you for pointing me back to the Truth and right thinking. The enemy is working hard to discourage these days.

  2. Rachel you said “The reality is that when we pray, “Lord, use me.” We should mean, “Lord, use me for your glory. Not so that I might be radiant, but so that You will be seen.”

    That is really good! Especially after I thought about it for a minute. Really, we are being God’s love to that person, in the flesh, when we bear with them in a patient way.

    After all, who of us is not immature to some other person. We all have that receiving role to play with countless wiser than ourselves, even though we are often unaware of it ourselves.

    Thanks.

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