I had an interesting thought this morning as I was reading Romans 12. Romans as a letter is filled to the brim with so many interesting nuggets. it is a veritable gold mine of the mind and heart of Christ toward us. He speaks to loudly to both Jews and Gentiles, and if you don’t think there is an important distinction between the two groups, you have to read this book with an open mind, because Paul spends 3 chapters (9-11) talking about it.
But back to my thought.
What if the way that we live our lives relationally is our true worship?
I know that what we do on Sunday mornings is called worship, and I believe that it is. You can’t convince me, though, that what we do on Sunday mornings is more important than what we do the other 6 days of the week, and a HUGE part of that is how we treat others. God instructed us to treat our neighbors as ourselves, and in this chapter, Paul speaks to us about so much of what relationships are made up of. By saying that this is our true and proper worship, what I believe he is saying to us is that when we treat others the way that God was treated us, we are really showing the world who God is!
How powerful is this sentiment?
“For by the grace given me I say to everyone of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” (Romans 12:3)
Let’s be honest here….Christians can treat Christians in the worst manner possible. We don’t forgive each others. We gossip about each other. We don’t truly pray for others when they ask us for it. We say that we will pray, but forget. We give to missions and the homeless, but don’t get involved in their lives. What kind of light are we casting on our God, who sent Jesus to get involved in the mire and dirt of our lives in order to save us? Can you imagine what would have happened if God and Jesus had only decided to give a love offering toward our redemption? Or what if God had simply sat on His throne and ranted over the outfit that we wore that didn’t match? Or that worship song that we sang where the lead singer was sharp or flat? Or what if the Holy Spirit jumped into one of our services and got offended by us being on our phones playing Candy Crush while the Pastor brings the message for that day?
“Rather think of yourself with sober judgment….”
This has nothing to do with faking humility, and walking around with ash on your forehead. True humility is powerful. True humility is a person who knows exactly who God says they are and what God says about them, and strives to live out their lives according to that knowledge, while also helping others to do the same. That is sober living. It is not full of boastful claims, or gossiping about someone else’s misdeed to make us feel better about our own.
What have we become relationally?
“For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” (Romans 12:4-5)
Here’s the gist. Each member belongs to all the others. Why is this important? This is why God places the onus on the church to restore fallen members. We aren’t to hold sin over their heads. We belong to one another. When we demand vengeance by our own hands, we tell God that His ways aren’t just. We belong to one another. Your hurt is my hurt. My injustice has to be yours as well. This goes so much deeper than race. It hits at the very heart of the issue, that before we were assigned a color to grace our skin, we were given the Holy Spirit to grace our lives! We are all connected. We are all the responsibility of each other. In Christ, we are one!
And if we can’t say that we are…that our divisions matter more than His truth…
What are we saying about God?
Our worship is in vain.
If I can’t get along with my fellow brother or sister in Christ, then it doesn’t matter what I do on a song on Sunday morning. I can lift my hands. I can sing out loud. Without love, it’s all white noise.
I’m going to end this post by just adding the last part of Romans 12. It is practical, but also ESSENTIAL! If we are going to give God our true and proper worship, we have to be relational in the way that Christ wants us to be. We can’t operate in our relationships the way that the world does, because that brings division. And one last thing…this kind of relationship is hard, because it requires us to get past our own issues, and do what God has done for us…shower people who have done us wrong with love, grace, and mercy.
If we are going to do life the way God wants us, relationships are integral. We belong to one another. We should be devoted to one another in love.
“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”says the Lord. On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”[e]
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:9-21) Emphasis mine
Be blessed today!