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. May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus.”
Paul cited “endurance” and “encouragement” as two specific traits fostered by the Scriptures that will culminate in hope. Think about this for a moment. Endurance… encouragement… Hope… all words that bring us life! As I write, I think of doing the incline at Pikes Peak. I hiked to the top of that bad boy this past summer! The trail difficulty is rated as “extreme.” It’s just under a mile and has a gain of almost 2,000 feet of elevation. As I worked my way to the top, there were times I wanted to quit and turn around, but my friends wouldn’t let me… they pushed me up the side of the mountain with words of encouragement. They helped me to endure; they fed my hope in making it to the top.
The same is true in our walk with Christ…Life can sometimes be just like the incline, it can weigh heavy on us. That’s why we need God’s word in our life… teaching us, guiding us, and filling us with endurance, encouragement and hope. But as good as that is, it gets even better!
In verse 5 we find Paul offering a prayer. It’s prayer that is not only for the Romans, but it’s for us as well. And what an encouraging one it is. Think about what Paul is praying… The same God who has and continues to give endurance and encouragement leading to hope…stands ready to give you unity as you follow Jesus. We’re not in this fight alone… He’s given us other to walk along side each other.
Unity is not the end…it’s not so that we can just all get along – No, it serves a higher purpose. The purpose of unity is God being glorified through His people. All believers—you and me—in one accord bringing praise and glory to His name. Unity is what enables God’s people to stop quarreling and getting sidetracked by things that don’t matter so that we can do what ultimately matters most: to glorify God through our lives together.
Maybe you’re like me and you can think of some folks in your life who just rub you the wrong way. What is it that makes us feel that way? With the folks I’m thinking about, it’s my own thoughts about what I think they need to be doing in their walk. This is wrong. Truth is, what I think is really a trivial matter that in the end doesn’t matter much. No, what I need to do is love those folks, I need to seek their very best, I need to come alongside them and encourage them to endure, and help them as we both grow in Christ-likeness.
*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.