Today we are going to start a series of devotions on the second half of Romans. In the first chapters, Paul explains how we are saved by grace through the cross. In the second part of the book, Paul tells how that applies to our lives. The cross has changed who you are.
Focus passage: Rom. 12:1-8
In a sea of opportunities, it is easy to get lost. A century ago, if your father was a blacksmith, you were going to be a blacksmith. If your family lived in small town Kentucky, you were probably going to marry and live the rest of your life within twenty miles of the place you were born. Things have changed. Now there are so many possibilities that our youth get lost and our adults have second thoughts about the path that they have chosen.
Having spent eleven chapters telling the Romans about salvation under the cross, Paul now begins to tell them what it means. You have been saved by Jesus. So what? In the sea of opportunities, Paul shows us that we have even more opportunities because of Christ, but also a greater sense of who we are if we will but listen. Such clarity is based on the relationships that we have.
The first relationship is with God v.1. If I am to achieve my potential, I need to offer myself to God. He is my coach and guide in life who will help me free my body from sins that enslave me and help me think clearly. God helps me with the relationship I have with myself v.3. He helps me be honest with myself so that I am not filled with pride or am too hard on myself. It is a careful balance between seeing how much I can do with God and how little I can do by myself.
The final relationship that I have is with other Christians v. 5. Having learned what my gifts from God are, I need to use them in coordination with others. Christians can do more together than they can do as a set of individuals. Your body is a wonderful mixture of parts working together and accomplishing more as a group than the parts can do by themselves. Likewise, a church is a group of people serving others and being served in areas that they can’t serve themselves. It is almost impossible to be a Christian apart from the local church. It would be like being an arm without lungs or heart to keep you alive so you can serve.
That runs contrary to the rugged individualism of our culture. We find others trying to look inside themselves so that they can maximize their advantages without concern for others. In Christ, we look to the community and lay our broken and imperfect bodies before the Lord asking for His mercy and the help of other Christians. Who am I? I am a Christian saved by the cross of Jesus and planted in a local church. Here I can help others to achieve their Godly potential as they help me achieve mine. We have the power of prayer and a guidebook called the Bible to lead the way. With God, I can do things others can’t dream of. Without God, I am just like everyone else lost in a sea of opportunities that overwhelm them instead of empowering them.
How is your life different because of your faith? Who are you now that you are a child of God?