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.
“19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. 21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall.”
God’s desire for us would be that we—believers—would live in such a way that everything we—believers—do would lead to peace and mutual edification. So why don’t believers consistently do this?
One reason is because we live in the already not yet, we live in the in-between time. So we find ourselves battling against our sinful nature. It’s a nature that tends to want to rack and stack our selves up against other believers. We always want to look around at what others are, or are not, doing. Hence, we either feel pretty good about ourselves, or just the opposite, we feel pretty bad about ourselves. It’s a terrible place to be… it’s a vicious cycle, and it’s one we don’t need to live in.
A better way would be to pursue the things that lead to peace and mutual edification. Pursue is a pretty strong word… it means to “strive” or “press forward.” It implies that what ever we do, it’s going to take effort. So how do we do that?
Look at this list from my Bible chain references on verse 19:
- Psalm 34:14 “ Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.”
- Romans 12:18 “18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”
- 2 Tim 2:22-23 “Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23 Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels.”
- 1 Cor. 14:12 “Since you are eager for gifts of the Spirit, try to excel in those that build up the church.”
- Ephesians 4:29 “’ Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.’”
Look at some of the key thoughts from these verses: We turn and flee from evil; seek and live at peace; pursue righteousness, faith, love peace; we do all we can to maintain a pure heart; we don’t get caught up in stupid arguments, but instead we build up each other.
These are the things we need to put our efforts into, the things that build up rather than tear down. A good starting point for this kind of pursuit begins with a love for God and a love for others… a genuine Christ-like love. If we can focus on this kind of love, will stop looking around at what everyone else is or is not doing and have a better chance of living and displaying a Gospel-centered life.
Is there someone you need to live at peace with? What about your actions in regard to the relationship, are you getting locked up over disputable matters? What could you do this week to move in the direction of peace and how might you encourage the other person?
*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.