Romans – “Therefore”
As we go through this life, we affect all those around us in some way. Relationships, good or bad, are made along the journey. You would have to live solely in a cave or a box and never come out to avoid relationships with others. Most of us do not live in seclusion. Those who do, we worry about.
Jesus came to earth not only to save us, but to show us how to relate to each other from a place of selfless love, extending mercy and telling us of the grace of God. He reminded us to love God then love others like God loves us.
Paul, saved by grace on the road to persecuting those who were trying to love God and others, began a new life of building relationships rather than tearing them apart. Because of Jesus, Paul now lives to tell how to turn bad relationships to good, healthy, growing, loving relationships. These are relationships that last. It begins with a growing relationship with Jesus Christ.
As Paul ends his letter to the Romans, we see he was a pioneer of relationships on his journey to tell the world about the saving grace of Jesus. Because of realizing how much Christ loves him, he loves others readily, without condition. Paul’s desire is that all believers realize the love of God and love others in the same way. He mentions many people in his letters whom he has met and loved and longs to visit with again.
“I’ll be on my way to you with a light and eager heart, looking forward to being refreshed by your company, God’s peace be with all of you. Oh, yes!” WHO do we look forward to seeing on our journeys here on earth? WHO refreshes our hearts by their presence? I am thinking of many people who have mentored me, renewed my spirit, gave me words of hope at just the right time, encouraged me in ministry tasks that were challenging, those who called or wrote words of affirmation. Those are the people I would love to sit down over a meal and talk with again.
Read of Paul’s hope and his affirmation of others. Think of people who give you hope, affirm them and thank God for them in prayer. Be grateful for the positive, loving relationships God has given us in this practice of “loving others”. Be extremely grateful for the growing, relentless relationship we have with God through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior! Great relationships begin with a growing relationship with Christ.
Romans 15, The Message
14-16 Personally, I’ve been completely satisfied with who you are and what you are doing. You seem to me to be well-motivated and well-instructed, quite capable of guiding and advising one another. So, my dear friends, don’t take my rather bold and blunt language as criticism. It’s not criticism. I’m simply underlining how very much I need your help in carrying out this highly focused assignment God gave me, this priestly and gospel work of serving the spiritual needs of the non-Jewish outsiders so they can be presented as an acceptable offering to God, made whole and holy by God’s Holy Spirit.
17-21 Looking back over what has been accomplished and what I have observed, I must say I am most pleased—in the context of Jesus, I’d even say proud, but only in that context. I have no interest in giving you a chatty account of my adventures, only the wondrously powerful and transformingly present words and deeds of Christ in me that triggered a believing response among the outsiders. In such ways I have trailblazed a preaching of the Message of Jesus all the way from Jerusalem far into northwestern Greece. This has all been pioneer work, bringing the Message only into those places where Jesus was not yet known and worshiped. My text has been,
Those who were never told of him—
they’ll see him!
Those who’ve never heard of him—
they’ll get the message!
22-24 And that’s why it has taken me so long to finally get around to coming to you. But now that there is no more pioneering work to be done in these parts, and since I have looked forward to seeing you for many years, I’m planning my visit. I’m headed for Spain, and expect to stop off on the way to enjoy a good visit with you, and eventually have you send me off with God’s blessing.
25-29 First, though, I’m going to Jerusalem to deliver a relief offering to the followers of Jesus there. The Greeks—all the way from the Macedonians in the north to the Achaians in the south—decided they wanted to take up a collection for the poor among the believers in Jerusalem. They were happy to do this, but it was also their duty. Seeing that they got in on all the spiritual gifts that flowed out of the Jerusalem community so generously, it is only right that they do what they can to relieve their poverty. As soon as I have done this—personally handed over this “fruit basket”—I’m off to Spain, with a stopover with you in Rome. My hope is that my visit with you is going to be one of Christ’s more extravagant blessings.
30-33 I have one request, dear friends: Pray for me. Pray strenuously with and for me—to God the Father, through the power of our Master Jesus, through the love of the Spirit—that I will be delivered from the lions’ den of unbelievers in Judea. Pray also that my relief offering to the Jerusalem believers will be accepted in the spirit in which it is given. Then, God willing, I’ll be on my way to you with a light and eager heart, looking forward to being refreshed by your company. God’s peace be with all of you. Oh, yes!
What do we learn?
–Be pioneers of great, loving, sincere relationships with others. The world is longing for it.
–Love God. Love Others. Jesus commanded it.
–AFFIRM others. You cannot affirm each other too much. It is not possible.
Dear Heavenly Father,
As Paul closes his letter to his friends we see and feel the love he has for people between the lines. May Your love permeate our very being. May Your Holy Spirit gush through us, washing away all that is bad. Lead us to great relationships with others. Let it begin with a smile on our faces put there by your love and by our gratitude for your love. Help us to take our minds off ourselves and see the good in others and affirm them for it. Thank you for being with us. Transform me. Transform the world.
In Jesus Name, Amen