We’ve got your daily encouragement, written by Kelly Williamson.
““May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”
We are living in a time in which many people would rather “cancel” those who see the world differently than they do rather than learn to care for the person behind the beliefs. If you think this is new, you should study the book of Romans. Paul is writing to plead with Christians in Rome to be accepting of each other, live in harmony, and to join together instead of constantly fighting to be right. Paul is encouraging them to value peace above having their own way.
During this time in the early church, Jews and Gentiles who had converted to Christianity were fighting over what it meant to be a follower of Jesus. Christian Jews felt that Paul was turning his back on his own people by bringing the Gospel to the Gentiles. The Christian Gentiles thought that since most Jews were rejecting the Gospel that God should reject the Jews as his people. Rather than focusing on what they had in common (Jesus), they fought over things like what holidays to observe and what kinds of food people should eat. Their focus on who was following Christ “the right way” threatened to thwart Paul’s whole plan to raise support to expand the message of the Gospel to Spain. Here are some lessons we can learn from Paul in Romans 15:
1. A sign of being strong in your faith is having patience with others. Paul was reminding the church that our strength is not in how well we argue, but in whether we can value others over ourselves. (see also Philippians 2:6-7) There are times to take a hard stand (issues of injustice, human rights, etc.), but arguing with others over matters of opinion will not draw their hearts or ours closer to Jesus.
2. We must accept each other as Christ accepted us. As Christians, we have to remember that the grace of God saved us from our sin. None of us is righteous without Christ. Whether or not my sin looks like someone else’s, it took the same grace to save me that it takes to save them. Christ didn’t come only to be my personal savior or yours. He came so that everyone would have the same opportunity to come to know him.
3. God is the only source of lasting joy and peace. When you trust God to fill you with his joy and peace, it will overflow into your interactions with others. We don’t get more joy and more peace by striving for it in our own effort but by trusting God and allowing him to fill us daily.
Lord, these words from Kelly are so good and so convicting! Please soften my heart so I can see where I may not be living these things out. Help me to have patience with people. Please help me accept people as you accept them. And Father, you are my only true source of lasting joy and peace. Help me stop seeking it in other things. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
See if you can AMRAP this challenge today.
1. To have more patience with people
2. To be more accepting of people.
3. To find you joy, peace, and security in God and not the substitutes he opened your eyes about in your prayer.
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