Romans 14:19 Working To Build Up

“Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and mutual edification.” Romans 14:19

During the time of Paul there was a lot of food being sold as food that had been sacrificed to some god. The devoted Israelites would refuse to eat the food that had been sacrificed since it was not meat offered to God. In the verses prior to this one, he talks about how all meat or anything else can be clean but to not do anything to cause someone to fall. Now he states that one should strive to do what builds others up.

Over time there have been people in the church who stand very strongly against certain things or acts that are in reality neutral with the Bible. One example was in playing cards. For many years, most churches were against cards because of the common place of gambling that was associated with playing them.

Paul is stating here that if someone is against playing cards, then do not do it around that person, even if you do not feel it is a wrong act to do. You are to strive to build the person up, not condemn them or try to change them.

This is not a free license to sin. When there is direct sin in a person’s life, it is another believer’s responsibility to warn them about it.

The best choice to do with every person is to point them to Jesus and show them His love, grace and mercy. It is possible God is still working in their lives to change them, but it will take time and it is one thing at a time. Do not fight against the person, but build them up in Jesus.

Too often, people push their freedom and do it anyways, causing hurt, pain, and confusion. Be the example of love around them. If they do not do something, don’t do it around them, even though you may have the freedom to do so.

It is important that you are living your own life in the way God has revealed to you. Be the light in this world. Be willing to sacrifice your rights to build someone else up.

I pray today that God will guide you in how to live your life; that you will not enforce your freedom on to someone else; that you will build others up; and that you will strive to live at peace with others while living for God.

Romans 13:14 How To Keep From Sin

“Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.” Romans 13:14

Paul had just made the statement that every believer must wake up and put off all types of sinful acts. These sinful acts are called the deeds of darkness. Now he states that instead of acting in these sinful ways one is to put on Jesus Christ and not even think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.

Many believers know that they should not be doing anything sinful. Often people will have old habits that they cannot seem to break. The sinful act has a bind on them that does not seem to leave.

In the verse today it gives a very simple two part answer. The first part is to clothe yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ. This is to make Jesus Christ The Lord and Master of your life. He is the one who is to be in absolute control of your life, not you. He is the one who is to control every part of your life–every move, thought, action, and word you make.

The second part is to not even think about how to gratify the desires of your flesh. The flesh is the sinful part of human beings, not the physical flesh. These desires are selfish and sinful against God and others. Here it states to not even think about it.

The mind is very powerful. It can control your attitudes, abilities and actions. If you set your mind to something it can usually be done, as long as your mind is willing to overcome every obstacle. This includes sin. For most people not committing an actual murder is easy because they do not really think about actually doing it. However, with jealousy, it is easy because it starts with thinking about what you do not have and what others do have. Sexual sins start out with a thought and builds from there.

Keep your mind on Jesus. Don’t give any room for sinful thoughts. Don’t even allow room for gratifying the sinful nature in your life. Think about Jesus and what He would do. Think about what Jesus did for you. Transform your mind to that of Jesus and you will overcome sin.

I pray today that you will clothe yourself with Jesus; that you will turn away from all sin; that you will only think about Jesus; and that God will strengthen you to keep Jesus Lord of your life.

Romans 13:8 Only One Outstanding Debt Allowed

“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.” Romans 13:8

Just prior to this verse Paul talked about paying everyone what is owed. This covered everything, including taxes, honor, and respect. Now he tells everyone to have no debts that are outstanding except to love others.

Debt has become a common place in today’s society. This goes from the individuals to the nations. Many people believe that in order to live life correctly there must be some type of debt. One can get credit cards very easily that sound good with low return payments, but extremely high interest rates.

Society also expects to be able to have everything they want now when they want it, regardless of the cost. There is a high level of greed in this, and very low level of responsibility and stewardship.

Yet, according to Paul the only debt that is allowed is the debt to continue to love others. This love is the agape love, the self-sacrificing love of God. It is putting others before yourself. It is building others up first. It is meeting their needs first.

This type of love will fulfill the complete law. The first part of the law is about loving God. The second part of the law is loving others. You are not to steal, kill, covet, and anything else against another person. When you love someone, you will not do any of these things.

As a believer you should be striving to pay all of your debts on time. Love is one that you can pay as much as you can pay, and still have room to pay more.

Have you loved every person as much as Jesus loved you? He died on the cross for you.

If you are reading this you have not yet had to die for someone else. You have not had to physically lay down your life in love for someone else.

Are you willing to love as Jesus did?

Are you trying to love as Jesus did?

Let your only debt be the one to love other people more and more each day. Let God’s love flow in and through you to everyone else. Strive to pay that debt as much as you can as fast as you can.

I pray today that you will know the love God has for you; that you will know the love God has for everyone; that you will love others as God has loved you; and that you will strive to have no outstanding debts except to love others.

Romans 13:1 Subject To Authority

“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” Romans 13:1

Paul brings up a hard challenge for believers, and that is to be subject to those who are in authority. At the time he wrote this verse, Rome was in power and were not very nice to non-Romans. They were even more harsh with Christians. Yet, Paul tells the people to be subject to them.

In America, most people do not like the idea of having to be subject to another person. They love their freedom to do what they want when they want. It becomes especially difficult when the authority is making rules and decisions that are not appreciated or wanted.

There are decisions and rules that authorities are making that no believer should like, yet, every believer must be subject to those in authority. As long as a rule does not directly go against God’s Word, you must obey it. If it goes against God’s Word, as a believer you must be willing to stand against it and not do it, but you must also be willing to take the consequences of not obeying those in authority.

Every leader in authority has been put there by God. No one can answer why some “bad” leaders are in place or why other “good” leaders are not in place. It is God’s choice. He does everything for the good of those who love Him. “Bad” leaders may be in place to get people to look back to Him.

Look at the history of Israel in the Bible. See how many times God allowed bad leaders to overcome Israel to get them to turn back to Him.

Who are you trusting today? Are you trusting your own judgment as to who is good or bad, or what is a good or bad decision? Or are you trusting that God is the one who is really in control?

Do not be afraid of bad decisions by those in authority. Do not worry about them. Everyone in position has been placed there by God for a reason. Trust God and follow Jesus. In the end Jesus and whoever follows Him will win the war.

I pray today that you will trust that God is in control of every situation; that you will be subject to all those in authority; that you will show proper respect to those in authority; that you will follow Jesus with all your heart; and that you will be His witness to everyone.

Romans 12:14 Blessing The Persecutors

“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.” Romans 12:14

During the time that Paul writes this letter, there was a lot of persecution going on. Christians were being attacked by many and had no personal rights in their country. For a time Paul had been one of those persecuting the Christian believers. The people were going through a hard time. It was easy for someone to curse those who were doing the persecuting, yet, Paul says to bless them.

Persecution can show up in many different forms. Most people think of it as just physical abuse against another person. It is also verbal abuse, refusal to recognize, shunning, overlooking, talking bad about, ridicule and rejection. In the USA these types of abuse are more common than the physical abuse.

The common thread of all types of persecution is the pain. There is pain in the physical, as well as the emotional. A person is hurt in the process.

It is very common for a person to attack those who do any persecution on them. They fight back with violence or bad words. Many will curse the person. One thing in common is that there is no love for those who did the persecution.

Blessing a person is asking God to give them favor and what they need. It is bringing the person something they need or helping to meet a need they have. It is talking good about the persecutor despite all the bad that they are doing. It is forgiving them, even when they have not requested forgiveness or repented of the wrongs done.

Jesus had loved you when you were against Him. When you persecuted Him, He still loved you. As a believer you are to show that same love to others. Do not take revenge or fight back at person. Bless the one who is doing wrong to you.

This blessing will show them the true love of Jesus. It may or may not diffuse their abuse, but it will be a testimony to them of God’s love and power.

Cursing a person does you no good. It only fuels the anger and hurt. You are told to not go to bed angry. Bless them and the anger must leave. You cannot be angry and bless a person.

Who are willing to bless today? Who do you need to bless today?

I pray today that God will reveal His blessings to you; that God will reveal His love for all those who do wrong; that you will be filled with God’s love for those against you; that God will strengthen you to bless those who persecute you; and that you will not curse anyone.