In an attempt to be transparent I am letting you awesome readers in on how inspiration happens for me. This afternoon I was discussing with a friend the use of Scripture in a post on social media. Usually when I notice scripture being quoted I get out my Bible and look it up. I want to read the context of quote. I practice exegesis (if you don’t know what that is use the contact page to let me know you would like an explanation and I will send you a response explaining in detail.) Briefly, exegesis is reading the Bible in context. The entire chapter, taking into account the book, author, date and original audience and current life application. The Scripture in question was Romans 12:12. “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” (ESV)
When viewed in its context Paul is writing to the Christians in Rome. Paul was in Corinth at the time preparing for a visit to Jerusalem in A.D. 57. The purpose of the book of Romans was to introduce Paul to the Christians residing there giving a sample of his message before he visited them. In chapter 12 Paul is giving instruction to the Christians on the subject of behavioral earmarks of a true Christian. In other words how are we as professing Christians different from the society and cultures around we are living in. In order to fully understand the meaning behind the one verse (12), the entire section versus 9-21 have to be read and applied. Then after that the entire chapter (12:1-21) should be read to check the meaning of the individual section. If the application of the one section does not match the entire chapter we are reading into or adding to God’s word, which we are instructed explicitly not to do. (See Deut. 4:2; Prov. 30:6; Rev. 22:18-19).
Romans 12:9-21 is outlining for us what Biblical love looks like in real life surroundings. Loving one another means being genuine, avoiding and hating what is evil while clinging to what is good. God’s definition of what is good and evil not our personal estimations of each. Honoring others, serving them and the Lord with zeal and fervor. Meet others where they are whether happy or sad, be that emotion with them. Do not be prideful. Live at peace with everyone. Let vengeance be God’s alone. For only God can judge rightly between us. Go out of your way to attend to the needs of your enemies. NOTICE not your friends, not those you find attractive, not those who can help you get where you want to go. We are all called to go out of our way spending our time, money and resources on those who hate us, those who drive us crazy and those whose presence causes us to want to walk in the opposite direction.
Then I read my daily devotional My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers. For the date March 3, 2017 the devotional discussed the love of God. What struck me in light of what I had been just discussing was the exceptional description of God’s love practiced through us (Christians). “But it is impossible to exhaust God’s love, and it is impossible to exhaust my love if it flows from the Spirit of God within me. The love of God pays no attention to my prejudices caused by my natural individuality. If I love my Lord, I have no business being guided by natural emotions-I have to feed His sheep.” By feed his sheep I mean the behaviors mentioned in the Romans 12: 9-21.
The point I pray you will leave with is this. Do not be guided by your desire for love. Ensure that what you are experiencing is the genuine urge for the absolute best in and for the other person. We practice a very self-fulfilling and self-focused type of emotional love. It is about me. What we want, what we desire, what we need and whom we want to give it to us. That is not what God calls us to. The love of God asks us to sacrifice. To be willing to give whatever it takes to fulfill in the other person God’s will for them. When we are trying to make our will happen paying no attention to God’s purpose in our association with the other person pain, hurt and broken relationships result. Join me in the next few weeks as I take six or eight blogs to discuss in depth relationships, their purpose in our lives, how to glorify God in them, how to end them without breaking faith or our own hearts. God is for our best. We can only attain His best for us when we structure our lives according to His word.
Thank you for visiting and reading. Have a blessed weekend.
Chambers, Oswald. My utmost for his highest: the classic daily devotional. Uhrichsville, OH: Barbour , 2015. Print.
Holy Bible English Standard Version. Wheaton IL: Crossway , 2001. Print.