Romans: Day 37

Glorifying God Together

by

Today's Text: Romans 15:1-21, 2 Samuel 22:50-51, Psalm 117:1-2

Scripture Reading: Romans 15:1-21, 2 Samuel 22:50-51, Psalm 117:1-2

Some of my fondest memories as a kid include long summer days spent at the pool. These memories are filled with flipping off the diving board, shouting “Marco Polo,” and of course, playing King of the Mountain. The goal of King of the Mountain was to be the only one on top of the raft, ruling your kingdom by any means necessary. Growing up with brothers, I had to be scrappy and strategic to win at this brutal game. From a young age, I learned that only the strong survive.

I’m told that as a grown-up, it’s not cool to push people off rafts at the pool. The thing is though, we still want to be on top. We just have different rafts now, and we’ve learned to defend our turf in more covert, “polite” ways.

So much of how we respond has to do with the season we’re in. When we’re treading water, we hope and pray for a gracious hand to help us onto the raft. But when we’re on top, it’s easy to become prideful in our position. It gets especially ugly when we believe there isn’t enough room on the raft for everyone. Even in the Church, we can foster the belief that the kingdom of God only has space for the “good” people, whether we’re conscious of it or not.

In our reading for today, Paul was writing to a Roman church comprised of two very different people groups: the Jews and the Gentiles. Even from its earliest days, it seems there were divisions amongst the believers in that region. Those who were “strong” didn’t want to help those they considered weak. But Paul challenged the Romans to accept one another, just as Christ had accepted them (Romans 15:7).

Paul points out that even the strongest among us, Jesus Christ, did not use His power to please Himself. If anybody had a right to boast it was the Lord, yet He took our weakness upon Himself to the point of sacrificing His very life.

We are all in need of God’s grace. In that humility we can seek to be like Jesus, freely passing on the strength and encouragement that has been gifted to us. If the Lord of the universe humbled Himself and bore our weaknesses, how much more eager should we be to do the same for those whom He’s placed around us?

In addition to following the sacrificial example of Jesus, Paul also calls the Roman church to accept one another for the glory of God. When we’re competitive and exclusive in our churches, how do you suppose we’re seen from the outside? Our witness is compromised by our selfishness. But if we’re a countercultural people and can demonstrate with love and sincerity that there is room at the table of God, then we will have something divinely different to offer.

It’s tempting to believe the lie of this world, that we must fight to be on top. But in the kingdom of God there is always enough for everyone. As believers, we’re called to lay down our lives for others just as Christ did, to love both the strong and the weak. If we stop trying to protect our little rafts, together we will glorify and join in celebration with the one true King, who lives and reigns over all the mountains.

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Kaitie Stoddard is a professional counselor who recently relocated from Chicago to Colorado with her husband. She has her Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and is passionate about helping couples and families find healing in their relationships. On any given weekend you’re likely to find Katie snowboarding in the Rocky Mountains, checking out new restaurants with friends, or catching up on her favorite Netflix and podcast series.

  • Melanie Bisson

    It seems I didn’t make my way to this yesterday for a reason … I needed it this morning. I’m at my summer sales meeting for work and it’s often a time of boasting and reward and “look at me” and it’s also a new test for me as a new believer in December because this is the first time peers are really seeing me talk about my walk openly.
    Jesus, I’m so grateful for what you did for us. Thank you!! May your presence be with me today as I am mindful of my words and caring towards peers.

  • I always look forward to Kaitie’s devotionals! Thank you!!

  • Karen From Virginia

    Competition has never brought me peace. Enjoyed this reminder to love in humility and there’s no need to fight for what God desires to give to bless all.

  • Hermosa palabra, y un devocional muy cálido. Bendiciones.

  • Romans 15 1-21 today I am drawn to study in the midst of family, with adults (parents of) 6 little ones, running, swimming, yelling, etc… This is a constant on these beautiful summer days. One would think “that’s the life!” It is. But, for a person that is truly an introvert, this can be taxing. “Fish and company stink after 3 days,” said Ben Franklin, I think. Then I need a time to clean up, a time to rest and a time to catch up on what I have to done. Plus a time to do me, paint, write, bible study, run, whatever it is I want to do. Summertime, baby watch (daughter due with #3, any day) does not lend itself to my ways. Some how, even though I feel the tensions rising within, I must figure out a way to let the love of Christ shine through. When I let my feelings run or my head race, I begin to disappear into my angst. God I don’t want to do that! God I wish I could just be and go with the flow of things. He knows all of this, yet made me how I am. So I steal away while the party is going and pray the Holy Spirit will be active and alive in me. I pray for grace and strength and the ability to ignore my head. I pray for my light to shine in spite of myself. I don’t think I am alone in this struggle.
    Romans 15 calls us to love the weaker brother. Be inclusive. In all circumstances at all times be welcoming and let His light shine for others to see and witness. I am praying I can and will be that today. This very moment is an intentional time of study and prayer to be the best light I can be.

  • This was such an encouraging and practical devotional! Thank you!

  • If anyone is hitting their knees this morning, my friend Kelsey and her family could use your prayers. Her 4th pregnancy had unexpected complications that resulted in her sweet son being born at just 22 weeks. He’s very small but the nurses say he’s feisty! We are praying for strength day by day for baby boy, for reassurance for Kelsey, and for peace to surround their whole family (Isaiah 41:10)! Thank you sisters.

    • Renee

      Praying!

    • Jen

      Lord, You are everything and so we turn to you now, asking for Your hand of grace in this anxiety producing situation. Lord please give Your peace and strength to Kelsey and her husband and especially your strength to sweet little Fiesty. Lord, we look to You in this situation. We ask that Your will be done but we also ask that it would be a healthy life for Baby. Please help all involved to look to and trust you. Amen

    • Jenny

      Wow, praying for Kelsey and her baby boy!

    • Holly

      Praying for all of them.

  • Carrie Rogers

    Amen❤️

  • What a beautiful message about accepting each other. I believe the world would be a better a place if we did

  • I’ll gladly delete if this isn’t allowed, but would you guys pretty please like and share my mom’s Facebook page? She’s trying her hardest to start up her own business after all her years as a homeschool mom. She is a photographer who does FANTASIC work, but she’s having some trouble with getting bookings. So, likes, shares, and prayers? Thanks!
    https://www.facebook.com/debbielphotography/

  • Caroline

    Relate to this so much because I too love the pool and played those same games. What a beauty reminder that leaves me in awe, Jesus who deserves to be the most boastful, is the most humble.

    “It’s tempting to believe the lie of this world, that we must fight to be on top. But in the kingdom of God there is always enough for everyone.”

    Isn’t that the truth? Because of my ministry I’m often dealing with women who get jealous and I have to remind them that God doesn’t run out of blessings. Someone else’s win doesn’t mean you aren’t going to get yours, but there is truly enough for everyone!

    http://Www.in-due-time.com

    • Emily B.

      I love the reminder that God doesn’t run out of blessings; He shows His love for ALL of His children in different ways and different times. Thanks for sharing!

  • Natalie Eddy

    Coming home from church with my 90 year old mother, I had turned up the praise music and was singing it to the top of my lungs. Suddenly I looked at my mom, apologized for not considering her at that moment. Without missing a beat, she said, “Did you hear those words, Natalie!, How can anyone not worship our Lord?” Not that is in one voice glorifying the Father. Grace, my dear Sisters!!

  • Tammy Gingrich

    This could not have been more timely. I love my hubby. But there are issues. Our marriage is not easy. I tend to be the positive, high energy, ready to fight for the good side. He struggles to see the good in anything. It gets old and brings me down. I even told him I can’t be his all, and I believe that. But I don’t have to back away hoping he will go do what it right and seek help and council. He hasn’t done it in the past without my help, why now? This, “We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.”
    (Romans 15:1) spoke volumes. I have to do what I am sick of doing. Thank you so much for the renewed strength and fortitude you provided through this Devo and His word!!!

    • Debbie Gartland

      I understand as my experience is similar. Let’s pray for each other and our spouses:)

    • Sarah

      I am in the same situation, going on 20 years of that situation (30 years married). I have recently reached the point where I can allow myself to be happy without guilt since those around me fight their battle of gloom.
      I take my opportunities to gently rebuke his gloomy statements with another perspective as a way to encourage him and his thought process. I am also aware that my behavior can feel exhausting to him at times. Whenever possible praise his good thoughts but don’t necessarily punish his bad thoughts (he already beats himself up). Be the positive example he needs in his life. Let God shine through you!

      • Shelbie Williams

        What beautiful souls you ladies have! Your words encourage me to keep trying to bring joy to those around me, in my sphere of influence as a single girl. You also give me hope that there are people fighting hard to show the love of Jesus in their marriages!

    • Jenny

      Tammy, I understand completely. There are many days I’m in the same boat. I love my husband dearly, but he can be negative often. He always says I bring out the best in him and my positivity can change his mood. He wasn’t much of a church goer before me, and not that he’s there every week, but he goes more than he used to. I believe that we were brought together so that I could guide him toward a life of goodness. Instead of feeling discouraged, try to see that God placed you here for a reason…I will pray today that you can be that guiding light for your husband.

      • Summer

        Your words spoke volumes to me. Instead of feeling discouraged, I am gonna try to see that God has placed me here for a reason. Thank you for this eye opener!

  • churchmouse

    Yes please. Let us stop majoring in the minors and focus on our unity in Christ Jesus. Surely the foundational truths that bind us are stronger than petty personal opinions of nonessentials. Can we not play nice in the sandbox? Can we not refuse to be part of friendly fire? Who among us, when Christ splits the eastern sky and returns, is going to argue with Him about His timing? Let’s let it go and focus on love – for Him and others. Then the whole world will know that we are His disciples. Not because of the color of our church carpet or style of music. Let it go and love.

    • Jenny

      Love this Churchmouse! The things we’re supposed to be doing on this Earth are quite simple….but there will always be those who believe their way is the only way.

  • Amen ! thank you for this beautiful message… recently I was made to feel so unworthy and like a really bad Christian when my friend /colleague compares our denominations and tells me that I do wrong … like ignoring the Sabbath . this is an age old debate starting with the early church with the Jews and gentiles . sigh

    • LivingJoyfully

      Did you happen to read last week’s Day 23: The Law of Liberty on SRT? I think you may find some encouragement for your own heart. As for your friend you can share that devotion with her perhaps, but true change only comes through the work of the Holy Spirit. Saying a prayer for you and your friend that you would discover true freedom.

    • Rebecca

      And yet here you are on Tuesday, immersing yourself in scripture and prayer, as I imagine you do every day of this study. Perhaps the Sabbath is too wonderful to be confined to Sundays. Rejoice in the Lord always.

      • DebbieinAZ

        Amen.

      • ssbbaker

        Amen indeed! The Sabbath is too wonderful. Thank you for the encouragement.

      • GramsieSue

        Oh Rebecca, what a beautiful statement. “And yet here you are on Tuesday, immersing yourself in scripture and prayer…”
        “Perhaps the Sabbath is too wonderful to be confined to Sundays”. I love that! I teach 9th and 10th grade girls each Sunday and I am always encouraging them to read their Bibles. I am going to use this on Sunday. It is too wonderful to confine to only one day of the week! I pray that they would hunger for the Word of God so much that they feel as if they can’t survive without it each day!

        • Lisa-Jane

          I love that statement so much “Perhaps the Sabbath is to wonderful to be confined to Sundays”. I might just write that down & post in on my fridge! Thanks for building each other up. What a beautiful reminder.

        • Michelle

          “I pray that they would hunger for the Word of God so much that they feel as if they can’t survive without it each day!”
          Love that! Ahh, for the bible to become my much desired cup of coffee. I look forward to that cup each morning; can’t wait for the first sip, tastes wonderful on my tongue and the aroma fills my senses. Yes, to have that need and desire for the word would indeed change my world.
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