What responsibilities do you find in these verses?
Now we who are strong have an obligation to bear the weaknesses of those without strength, and not to please ourselves. Each one of us must please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For even the Messiah did not please Himself. On the contrary, as it is written, The insults of those who insult You have fallen on Me. For whatever was written in the past was written for our instruction, so that we may have hope through endurance and through the encouragement from the Scriptures. Now may the God who gives endurance and encouragement allow you to live in harmony with one another, according to the command of Christ Jesus, so that you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ with a united mind and voice. (Romans 15:1-6)
As I sat in a training in preparation to begin serving in Israel with Bridges for Peace, I heard a quick reference to Romans 15, along with the challenge, “With blessings come responsibility.” Later that day, I read through Romans 15. Just the first half dozen verses are full of blessings and the responsibilities that come along with them.
- Are you blessed with strength? Bear the weaknesses of others.
- And do it for them, not yourself.
- Oh, and just in case you’re wondering, it’s really not about you at all. Follow Jesus, who didn’t do things for Himself but always for others.
- Was something written in the past for you? (God’s Word, perhaps?) Use it as your instruction. It’s the way you’ll have hope.
- Speaking of Scripture, because you have access to God’s Word, you have access to the endurance and encouragement you need. It’s not optional. It’s assured.
- And that endurance and encouragement? Yes, that comes with responsibility, too. Use it to live in harmony with others.
- Since you’ll be living in harmony with others, you will also be fulfilling your responsibility to glorify God with a united mind and voice.
I may have taken a few liberties, and you can explore the rest of the chapter if you want, but try not to make it too complicated. As daunting as it might seem. Stop rationalizing. Perhaps you don’t feel strong all the time. But you don’t have to feel strong to be strong. God is the source of strength. You’re never strong on your own and always strong with Him. Quit defining it your own way at your own convenience. You might not feel hopeful. You might not feel capable of endurance or encouragement. And when you claim you don’t have those things because of your feelings, you can pull back from all the responsibilities attached. After all, if you don’t have those things, how can you follow through with what is required?
Because of God…
Because of God, you have the things you don’t even realize you have.
Because of God, you can do the things you don’t think you can do.
Because of God, the instructions are there. You just have to listen and follow.
Because of God, the pressure is off you. He’s first, not you.
Because of God, the pressure is on you. You have to put Him first and choose humility.
You might see areas of your life you don’t view as blessed. Don’t be deceived. Being blessed doesn’t mean everything is working out the way you expect or want. If you’re reading this, you are literate. You are blessed. You have access to technology. You are blessed. You likely have a place to sleep and something to eat. Blessed. Blessed.
Most of all, you have access to God. I don’t know if you are engaging with Him or not, but you have access to Him. Definitely blessed.
Are you responding responsibly?