Wednesday, May 31, 2017
Because of Others
Romans 12:12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer.
This entire section in Romans is based on the demand of love for others. In the original the structure of the sentence above would be a little different — because of hope, we rejoice; because we suffer, we are patient; in prayer, we are persevering. Because of others we are willing to rejoice in the hope that we have been given. This is the hope of complete and total restoration in the image of God. This causes great joy in the life of the believer.
Also, there is an understanding of suffering that will become commonplace in the life of early believers. Soon they would face martyrdom on a regular basis and this, they would suffer for the community as a whole. When one stood up for their faith it strengthened them all. They would all know and experience suffering for following Christ. Business people would begin to lose money, children would be taunted, their everyday lives would become times of testing by the society surrounding them. They needed to remain strong for the sake of one another.
Prayer was a central practice of the early church community. Nothing was to stand in the way of their times of prayer. Prayer meetings were a reflection of their love for God, but also their love for one another. It was in prayer that they lifted up and supported one another. They were never to give up this practice.
With an overarching theme of love, the people of God were to be watching out for one another, lifting burdens and encouraging through difficult days.
We are meant to belong to a community of faith. This Christian journey is not one that is to be walked in isolation. So much strength is gained from fellow-believers who will help us make it through the tough times of life.
Our love is to be genuine and we know that genuine love comes out of the overflow of a deep relationship with Jesus Christ. The very nature of God found in the community of the Holy Trinity is love. We are invited to become partakers of the divine fellowship found in the Trinity and this is — to partake in holy love. The overflow of the love that we find in that relationship spills over onto those around us. This begins with the community of faith.
Because of others I rejoice in the hope that I have found in Christ. Every day becomes a hopeful venture as I am drawn ever deeper into a relationship with my Lord. The call is to holiness — to Christlikeness. I rejoice in every opportunity that I have that allows me to become more like Christ. That is why I can be patient in suffering. Jesus suffered greatly and showed us the way to holiness that can come through suffering. He suffered and died on the cross for us all. This is why we are to be patient, being willing to go through difficulties for the sake of others.
Finally we come to the importance of prayer. This is both individual and corporate prayer, but for the sake of others. We will naturally be strengthened because of prayer, but prayer is also sacrificial love given for the sake of others. We sacrifice our time to intercede for others. Perseverance means that we don’t give up on those who may be in need of our prayers. We continue to lift them up.
We do all of this because we are compelled by love. The transforming love of God compels us to live a new life in Christ. Christ, our example, who died for others, invites us to be ready to give our lives because of others.
Lord, thank you for your love and guidance every single day. Thank you for the challenges you place before us. Please, help us to walk faithfully in the ways in which you lead. Amen.