Thursday, February 10, 2011

Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you

Rom. 15:1-12 NLT  
   1  We who are strong must be considerate of those who are sensitive about things like this. We must not just please ourselves. 2 We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord. 3 For even Christ didn’t live to please himself. As the Scriptures say, “The insults of those who insult you, O God, have fallen on me.” 4 Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled. 
   5 May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. 6 Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 
   7 Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory. 8 Remember that Christ came as a servant to the Jews to show that God is true to the promises he made to their ancestors. 9 He also came so that the Gentiles might give glory to God for his mercies to them. That is what the psalmist meant when he wrote: “For this, I will praise you among the Gentiles;  I will sing praises to your name.” 
   10 And in another place it is written,  “Rejoice with his people, you Gentiles.” 
   11 And yet again, “Praise the LORD, all you Gentiles. Praise him, all you people of the earth.” 
   12 And in another place Isaiah said, “The heir to David’s throne will come,  and he will rule over the Gentiles. They will place their hope on him.”

We've been discussing how Paul advises the Christians in first century Rome to live holy lives by the power of God's Spirit in them. These God-inspired passages are the heart and soul of Christian living. The ideas continue in today's verses from chapter 15. It is essential that Christ-followers who are strong in their faith act in sensitive ways to new believers who are just learning the faith. It is important that we guard against being perceived as having airs of superiority about ourselves in contrast to the others around us. Now sometimes they will feel that way anyway out of their own guilt but more often than not, insensitivity by experienced believers moves them to feel that way. We must be careful not to say things that seem to sound like criticism or rejection. There must be no time when our words are taken as ridicule by another. We should not have to tell others that we love them because our actions should speak of that love in measurable ways.

Building others up-- that is what we are called to do, never to tear them down. It is not our responsibility to humble another person. If one needs humbling, in God's time HE will take care of that. And then we must be around to help pick up that humbled brother or sister and strengthen them with wisdom. And when insults come our way, we can let them pass from us to the Lord who is truly living within us and through our actions. When we don't think ourselves to be prominent or important to others then it does not matter if they do or do not recognize us. What need have we of their recognition when we have already received the supreme recognition from Creator God-- who saw fit to begin to live within us and remake us into His image.

Just like Christ accepts us, loves us without reservation or limit, and nurtures us, so we can do to others. Why? Because Christ is in us and wants to do that for them but through us. He wants to reach out to them in love using your hands, my feet, your mouth, my heart, your compassion, my perseverance. I think we should embrace all that the Lord wants to do through us, don't you?
Your servant in Christ's Acceptance

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