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.
“9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. 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. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”
One way to love people well is to “rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” I’ve read this verse before, but hadn’t given it much thought until about 10 years ago. I was having a conversation with Terry and he brought the verse up. He said, “Jim, we get this verse backwards. We tend to want to mourn with those who rejoice and rejoice with those who mourn.” I must tell you, that hit me like a ton of bricks! It’s true. Someone gets recognized for doing a good job, gets a promotion, gets married, has a child…and all we can do is think about why we didn’t get the same accolades or blessing. Instead of rejoicing with them, many people turn their attention back to themselves with thoughts such as: “I should have gotten that promotion…” or “It’s just not fair; I should be the one getting married…” or “I should be having a child.”
When we do this, we open the door for jealousy to creep in. It’s a horrible trade! Rather than empathy, we turn inward and focus on ourselves. This only leads to the tendency for us to be envious and covet what doesn’t belong to us. It even makes us callous; we just walk past them and do not engage them as they rejoice or mourn. Paul wants us to know this is not how the believer is to respond. Maybe you read this and thought, “I’m not necessarily jealous of that person’s job, wedding, baby, etc.” Maybe not, but you might be mourning God not providing those circumstances in your own life. Focusing on ourselves in situations like this can also blind us to what God is doing in the lives of our friends, and we don’t want to miss that either.
Believers are called to share in both the joy and suffering of fellow believers, since they are members of one body of Christ. The Christian experience is not one person against the world, but one great family living out together the mandate to care for one another. So, rejoice with those who are rejoicing, and weep with those who are weeping (v. 15). The elder brother in the account of the prodigal son provides an example of a failure to join in rejoicing (Luke 15:25–32). On the other hand, the gospel’s record of Jesus weeping upon meeting Mary following the death of her brother, provides an example of sharing suffering with others (John 11:35). (Mounce)
*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.