Ask God to orient or reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.
“11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.”
In our verse today, we find Paul offering a series of exhortations concerning the believer’s personal attitudes, attitudes that will make them more attractive to others.
First, Paul says that we should be the kind of people who do their best. The kind of people who are eager, who don’t shrink back, hesitate or are lazy when it comes to keeping their fervor as they do the work God called them to.
This can sometimes be hard for us to do. I think one of the reasons is that we tend to want to compartmentalize our lives. When we go to work, we enter into the “work box.” Nothing else can come into the box as long as we’re there; we focus on work at the expense of everything else. When we go home, we enter the “family box.” Our minds are focused on family. For guys, many times we tend to want to enter the “nothing box.” You know what this means…that we do absolutely nothing! We allow nothing to come into this box.
This is really a bad place to be; it’s bad because all the focus is on ourselves. You see, we’re not to live compartmentalized lives! When we live like this, we become disconnected from reality. We refer to this way of thinking as “living a two story life.” It’s where we live like everything in the real world is lived downstairs and the spiritual life is the upstairs. This kind of life is counter to what we find in scripture. Colossians 3:17 tells us, “Whatever we do, whether word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord.” This calls for us to live a single-story life. All of life—the spiritual and the real life—is interconnected. That’s what makes this kind of life so attractive to people.
It’s the kind of person Paul calls us to be. This kind of person is attractive…the person that leans in, has a zeal for life, for the single-story life, a life that is lived out in the real world as God created it to be. This kind of life is compelling.
But that is not all…the single story life is a life that is lived joyfully in hope. It doesn’t matter what comes their way, they are going to live for Christ, even in the midst of afflictions as they constantly go before the Lord in prayer, faithfully trusting Him.
Prayer is something that I think we refer to, but often underestimate the power that is at work when we commune with God. Prayer brings power to our lives and peace to our hearts. When we pray in the name of the Lord Jesus, we come the closest to omnipotence that is possible for mortal man to come. Therefore, we do ourselves a great disservice when we neglect to pray. Prayer connects us to God; it’s a habit that we’ve got to maintain. Prayer brings us to the reality of our great need for Christ. It helps us to see the true need of the needy. Because of God’s great mercy toward us, we are able to share generously with those in need.
Prayer also gives us a great awareness of God’s own mercy toward us, His undeserved grace toward us. It gives us eyes to see the world and ourselves as they really are. When we look at others that may be persecuting us in some way, we’re able to bless them because we understand how much we’ve been forgiven.
I know that’s a lot to think about, but this is the kind of compelling life that Paul is calling each one of us to live. Does it take work? Most certainty! But, it’s the only kind of life to live.
*From what you have just read and considered: What is a personal implication/application for your life today?
(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today. KEEP PRAYING THROUGHOUT YOUR DAY.
Inspiration and insight for the devotionals came from the following books: Reading Romans with John Stott; The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World (The Bible Speaks Today Series), Stott, John; Romans (The NIV Application Commentary Book 6) Moo, Douglas J.; Encountering the Book of Romans: A Theological Survey (Encountering Biblical Studies) Moo, Douglas J.; Believers Bible Commentary; The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, with the New International Version, Romans through Galatians; NIV Application Study Bible. The Cambridge Bible Commentary, Romans, Best, Ernest. Romans 8-16 For You: For reading, for feeding, for leading (God’s Word For You – Romans Series Book 2, Keller, Timothy.