We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. 2 Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. 3 For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.”
I am finishing up Romans and there are two things about chapter fifteen that struck me. The first being the above verses. Here’s what I read, if I am in a season of strength and wisdom then I should be actively helping those who are struggling with their faith. It’s clear that our call is to live a life that glorifies God. Sometimes we get comfortable or forgetful when it comes to our faith doing well. For instance, if I am in a good place, reading daily, making healthy decisions, and living well I have a tendency to forget that A. others may not be doing as well, and B. I myself have not always been doing this well.
The first few verses of Romans 15 highlight what we ought to be doing as Christians in a season of strength. If you haven’t learned by now, faith is a roller coaster. We all experience peaks and valleys. Going through times of strength and times of weakness is the spiritual journey. I am learning to understand more about how to be present in each season and what my role is. Times of strength may be accompanied by or even driven by a lifestyle change. Maybe you started going to church and you have some new church going friends. It’s easier to make wise decisions if you place yourself in those situations more frequently. On the flip side where did you remove yourself from? Do those people still need love and encouragement? Absolutely. Because the truth is, we never know when we will be “those people” to someone else.
The second part of Romans 15 that struck me was toward the end in verse thirty.
30 I urge you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me.
Paul, the dude who wrote a majority of the new testament is asking for prayer. Why do we think that we do not need prayer in our times of struggle? I have written about it before and that is why this resonated with me. Asking for prayer is important and it’s not something that should be difficult or awkward. I believe in being open to praying for others and I hope that they are there when I need prayer for myself.
My encouragement to you is to read these verses a few times and let them sink in. First, what do you see when you read this? Are we selfish in how we live out our faith? Do I help others facing weakness because I want to feel good or does it come from a genuine place of understanding, saying “I have been there before”? Am I willing to make myself available to praying for others out of gladness or is it in selfishness because I want something in return?If you’re a John Crist fan, these are some of the real “check your heart” questions.