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.
“We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: ‘The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.’ For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”
God doesn’t want us to live in the dark when it comes to experiencing life. He’s a compassionate God. He wants us to love Him and make His love known to others. He’s not far off from us. He can be easily seen if a person is willing to look for Him. As our Creator, He hasn’t given us life and said, “Okay, now you go figure it out.” No. It’s quite the opposite. He desires that all would come to know Him, for He is the meaning of life. And one of the primary ways God has chosen to reveal Himself is through the written Word—the Bible—The Holy Scriptures. In the Scriptures, God has given us everything we need… in the Scriptures we have everything God wants us to know. And here’s even more good news: Because of His Character and Holiness, we can have confidence that the Bible gives us all we need so that we can know God adequately and accurately.
So when we come to verse 4 we can’t help but slow down and ponder the depths and significance of such a great principle for Believers today. Mounce sums it up well:
Everything that was written in Scripture in days gone by was written for us. Not only did it serve the needs of its own day but it is still relevant in the modern world. Scripture is relevant because it speaks to our deepest needs. It is through the endurance taught in Scripture and the encouragement it brings that we are enabled to live in hope. Morris reminds us that “Paul is not exhorting believers to pull themselves together and manifest these qualities, but rejoicing in God who gives them” (cf. v. 5). The difficulties of today are bearable because God in his Word tells us of a better time yet to come. He mediates his comfort and encouragement by speaking through his Word to the hearts of receptive believers. To separate oneself from Scripture is to turn a deaf ear to the voice of a Heavenly Father anxious to console.
While the Scriptures were not written directly to us, they contain invaluable lessons for us. As we encounter problems, conflicts, tribulations, and troubles, the Scriptures teach us to be steadfast, and they impart comfort. Thus, instead of sinking under the waves, we are sustained by the hope that the Lord will see us through. What great news for us!
Even though we know all of this to be true, we can find ourselves getting caught up in the day-to-day grind, and the next thing we know, it’s been several days or even weeks since we last found ourselves in God’s Word. I want to encourage you to not beat yourself up, but instead, open up God’s Word and feast!
You know there are many ways available for Bible intake. You just have to be a bit creative with your time and think outside the box. Let me give you a few examples. You could listen to the Bible through your smart phone on your daily commute. There are all kinds of apps that will read the Bible to you. If you exercise first thing in the morning, instead of putting in your ear buds and listening to some music, why not to listen to a podcast of sermon or Bible teaching. If you don’t have much time, why not just do a “Verse of the Day.” You could write it down on an index card or even get a memory verse app. You could even do a devotion everyday, just like this one.
The goal is to put ourselves in a position where God’s Spirit can take God’s Word and transform us into the image of God’s Son.
So think about this today and answer this question: What’s holding you back?
*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 (God’s Word For You – Romans Series Book 2, Keller, Timothy.