You’d have to twist my arm to get me to choose a favorite person in the Bible. There are just too many folks woven into those pages and in turn woven into my heart as lasting reminders of God’s faithfulness. But if I had to, I might say Paul. Formerly known as Saul aka crazy-Jesus-hater turned radical evangelist, he brings such simplicity and realness to the gospel. His books are great places to start if you’re looking for insight into how to do life as a follower of Jesus.
Today I’m in Romans 15:1-7. As always, I’d encourage you to go and read for yourself rather than type it all out here. You could spend a lifetime soaking up the truth in Romans alone, and I’ve often thought I’d like to memorize the whole book. This passage is about setting an example. I struggle with this concept because culture says I’m my own person and my choices affect only me. Culture says I’m free to do and say what I want as long as it’s not really hurting anyone else. And culture assumes that as long as I slap a “free to be me” sticker to everything I’m doing, then it’s probably excusable and justifiable in even the sketchiest of circumstances. What I like about Paul is that he didn’t cater to the culture of his day and he doesn’t cater to mine. On the contrary, this passage says that it’s not about me. It talks about bearing with the failings of the weak, considering our neighbors, building one another up. I see Jesus in that, don’t you? If we follow His example, we find selfless acts far outweigh the desire to be ourselves. And here’s my favorite part, the part that has me painting birds and imaging myself as one of them. Verses 5 and 6 encourage us to live in harmony with one another so that together we “may with one voice glorify” God. In the Message version it likens us to being a part of a choir rather than just being a bunch of voices singing our own songs.
Friends, what if I told you that it’s ok to be different? What if I told you it’s ok to disagree with someone and even see their faults, but still love them? What if I told you that being the loudest isn’t always the best and that sometimes life is simply learning how to sing together to bring glory to the One that we collectively love and adore? I have found, that more than anything in the world, I want to people to hear my heart for Jesus in my life song. And what I want not to do more than anything in the world is be the reason that someone can’t see Him.
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