Good morning, Five Minute Families. How has the beginning of spring been treating you? The longer days, the warmer air, the buds showing up. There is something about the revival that spring brings, allowing us to take a deep, refreshing breath, and say, “ok, Lord, lead me into the next steps.” And, that is exactly what we encourage here at Clear View Retreat - no matter what has come before, no matter how dark, cold, or closed off the previous season of life was - take a deep, refreshing breath and step forward with the Lord. He gives us the resources we need.
Today, we are discussing the third of four essentials of faith as Paul discusses them in Romans - the resources available to us now that we have Christ’s righteousness and we better understand His redemption. Basically, as Christians, how are we to live? Insight for Living answered, “The Christian life is a different life. And all the resources we need to live it are found in Christ Himself.” Specifically, today, we want to look a bit at Romans 12:1 through Romans 15:13.
First, we need to realize that a resource we have is sacrifice. You might be thinking, exactly how is sacrifice a resource? Well, what is the definition of resource? “an action or strategy which may be adopted in adverse circumstances.” When life gets tough - and it WILL - we must know that if we choose to behave as Christ behaved, making sacrifices for God and for our families, we will be able to better face the norms and storms that come our way. As Insight for Living put it, “In light of the “mercies of God” [discussed in] Romans 1-11, Paul urged us in [chapter 12 verse 1] to ‘present [our] bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is [our] spiritual service of worship’.”
Next, we see that sacrifice leads to service. As Romans 12:3-21 discusses the values of others and Christian ethics, we see that though we each have different gifts, we are one body in Christ, and we must “[s]hare with the saints in their needs; pursue hospitality.” (verse 13) Service is discussed throughout Scripture, and just as we are each given a gift, we must each give that gift back in service to others. By using the gifts we have, and being willing to do some of the tough or boring stuff that needs to be done, we free the body of Christ up to do his work of reaching the unreached and caring for the widows, orphans, poor, and suffering.
Third, we need to remember submission to our leaders. It might sound strange to think of submission to our governing bodies as a Christian resource, but verse 2 of chapter 13 tells us that “the one who resists the authority is opposing God’s command.” We cannot draw closer to the Lord by opposing His Word. Obviously, that does not mean we cannot work to change bad laws, but we must show respect to those in authority.
Fourth, we must remember to be sensitive to other Christ-followers and their beliefs. Romans 14:1 says, “Welcome anyone who is weak in faith, but don’t argue about disputed matters.” And the chapter continues to illustrate points of differences, but the one thing we must all agree on is Christ and Him crucified. We must not become stumbling blocks to one another, arguing about clean or unclean or about what to eat or drink. Don’t forget the reminder in verse 22, “Whatever you believe about these things, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves.” When we properly utilize God’s sensitivity and kindnesses to all believers, even if we have differences, we are better prepared to be more effective for His kingdom.
Finally, we must be accepting of one another, not just sensitive to differences. We must build one another up. We must hope through endurance and live in harmony. This resource of acceptance promotes peace and reminds us that faith is what matters most, not whether we are pleased with ourselves.
How many times can just one more sentence of information help stop a world of hurts, or how a simple but heart-felt apology can begin the reconciliation that is desperately needed, or how realizing that we are all so different AND those differences can be our resources - our strengths - if we let them. We must allow God to teach us how to use wisely the resources He has given or commanded us to take part of, adding His sweet loving communication and encouragements to build His church.
We do thank you for joining us today, and we pray that the eyes of your hearts may be enlightened and that you will feel His greatness this week as you seek to use the resources he provides. Be blessed!