Text: Romans 15:7-11
Theme: We should live in harmony with other believers for God’s glory.
Key verses: “Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory. Remember that Christ came as a servant to the Jews to show that God is true to the promises he made to their ancestors. 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.’ And in another place it is written, ‘Rejoice with his people, you Gentiles'” (v. 7-10).
What God said to me: This is a simple, straight-forward passage. And yet, it contains a deeply significant directive and imperative for your life. You are to give glory to me in everything you do. That includes how you treat others and how you view them. To “accept” someone involves both actions and attitude. You can accept a person on the outside but not actually accept them in your mind and heart. You must do both. Remember that Paul was writing to the Gentile Romans in this book. It wasn’t just the Jews–God’s chosen people–who needed to accept the Gentiles. The “not-chosens” needed to embrace the chosen as well. And so it with you. You are a not-chosen one, Dwayne. You are a Gentile and not a Jew. You are not with the “in-crowd,” so to speak. And as such you must guard against feelings of cynicism, envy, separation or aloofness. You must strive to unite with those who are different from you. If they have professed faith in my Son, if they follow the Bible and seek to honor me, then they are your brothers and sisters–regardless of how they dress, act or smell and regardless of what clan or special group they may belong to. This harmony and acceptance thing must work both ways. Don’t wait around for “them” to come to you. You should demonstrate to them that you accept them, that you love and honor them. Outward acts of humility and fellowship must be motivated by a heart that truly loves others because you truly love me. The whole point and ultimate motivation for doing this is to bring glory to me. Praise me among other Christ-followers. Praise me with fellow believers–both Jews and Gentiles. The world will know you are Christians by your love for one another. Jesus said that, and you must live that out.
What I said to God: Thank You, my Lord and God, for meeting with me this early morning. Thank You for this beautiful morning and the opportunity to sit on my back porch and hear the birds sings and turkey gobble. I praise You for saving me and for giving me breath in my lungs and a beating heart in my chest. I have hope today. I am alive to proclaim You to my neighbors and friends today. Please help me choose to accept others who love You too–even if they don’t perfectly line up with my ways of thinking or my notions of how Christians should be. May what I think and how I feel be always based on Your written Word and not on my untrustworthy emotions and biases.