As we navigate through the book of Romans, Paul continues to teach us how to not sweat the small stuff in how we see our brothers and sisters in Christ living day to day. He gives us two examples in Romans 14, one is with food and the other is when to worship God. We are not to condemn another believer or look down on them over trivial things.
In Romans 15, Paul calls God’s children to live in a way where we put the interest of others before our own. We are to please those around us before thinking about ourselves. We will find that life becomes gratifying. Let’s see what God wants us to understand from chapter 15. Go ahead and read it.
Look at how Paul starts out with verse 1, “We who are strong.” Stop and think about this. When we walk in Christ, we are made strong. We are confident when God lives within us. Our lives take on deep meaning when the Holy Spirit leads us.
I don’t know about you, but I need to be reminded of who I am in Christ daily. I certainly don’t feel strong and I often have doubts whether my life has meaning but I know that I do not live by my feelings for I live by the very words of God and He tells me a different story!
Paul says we are to be considerate of others with things that necessarily aren’t right or wrong, like eating food. We are to show compassion and have understanding, for we do not know another person’s faith walk and the experiences they have been through.
ASK YOURSELF: What should we be doing in loving others, according to verse 2?
For even Christ didn’t live to please Himself.3
Paul shares what the scriptures say that will help us know God’s ways.
ASK YOURSELF: What do the scriptures give us as we wait patiently for God to fulfill what He has planned for us; see verse 4?
So God, through His Word, encourages us and gives us hope. We also see, from verses 5-6, that He will give us patience and more encouragement so we can live united in love, we can become “fitting followers of Christ Jesus.”
ASK YOURSELF: In verses 7-8, what are we called to do and why?
We see in verses 9-12 how Paul brags about Christ. Everything we do and say should bring glory to God. We see how Christ loves all people. His love is not deterred by race, social status or past experiences. Ask God what He is wanting you to learn.
ADDED INSIGHT: Read Psalm 18:49, 117:1 and Deuteronomy 32:43 and see what Paul wants us to learn as we become image bearers to Christ. How should we be living?
ASK YOURSELF: Paul prays for us in verse 13. What is he asking God to do for us? Does this encourage you? Does this change you in some way?
We see in the second half of chapter 14 how Paul tells us why he is penning the book of Romans. Because of the transformation that took place within his own heart, see Acts 9, Paul is convinced that those of us who are believers are full of goodness and we are capable of living out the calling that God has for us. We can teach each other the things of God.
We need each other.
ASK YOURSELF: From verses 16-22, what do you learn about Paul and why he lives the way he does?
Do you see how the love of Jesus has impacted Paul’s life? So much so, that He is on a mission to tell everyone about the Good News of Jesus Christ! He wants everyone to experience God so we can “become acceptable offerings to God, made holy by the Holy Spirit.”16
ASK YOURSELF: Why is Paul enthusiastic, see verse 17? What does he say in verse 18 that causes us to stop and think about ourselves?
“I dare not boast about anything except what Christ has done through me.”18
ASK YOURSELF: What is Paul’s ambition, see verse 20?
He follows God’s plan that is laid out in the scriptures. This is to be our plan, too, for there is no other plan available. God sending His Son to die and resurrect for us so we can be reunited with our Father in heaven is The Plan. “There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
Verses 23-33 reveals how active Paul stays in living for God. Spreading the Gospel is his lifestyle, it is who he has become. He understands why God has him on earth and he doesn’t waste a minute of it!
How about you? How can you put God in the center in your daily routine? How can you be about your Father’s business, giving glory to God? Are you willing to make changes, if God asks you to, so your lifestyle reflects His love?
Following Jesus is the most gratifying lifestyle. He will take us from the mundane to the extraordinary. We will go to sleep at night knowing we are making a difference where God has planted us. It’s time to bloom my friends!