Monday, August 10, 2020

Recipe For Good Relationship: Romans 12, Part 1

  Romans 12 | Part 1

“For by the grace given me I say to every one 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 NIV
In today’s pendulum of attitudes and emotions, it’s an easy swing from “woe is me” to “worthy is me” and vice versa. I often hear friends (and strangers) say that they have the proper attitude, look, and gifting. As a result, they believe they have a sense of entitlement, which means they deserve accolades and should receive rewards, such as a job, a raise, a perfect relationship, a house, an office, a ministry position, a book deal, etc. Self-confidence is not often lacking.
In contrast, we occasionally notice people giving praise to others, while they tear themselves down as if they have no value in God’s eyes.
We must find the balance between encouraging others in their God-given gifts at our expense and having the confidence to use our own God-given talents.
Paul challenges us to find this healthy medium in the verse above; he wants us not to think “too highly of ourselves” and simultaneously “in accordance with the faith.” We ARE a marvelous work of God, but we are not very useful when we try to do it all on our own, refuse to let others contribute, or do not do anything because we insist we have no value, talent, or gift.
Following this verse, Paul illustrates in verses 4-8 that we are like a body, and we have different roles in our work together, requiring cooperation and encouragement. God created us, intending for us each to do our part to benefit His kingdom. We need to grow as one, so we can move forward with finesse.
Perhaps, we would have liked to have chosen our gifts, or we admire gifts others have received. Many times, we want to sing a solo on stage or head up a high-profile ministry. People rarely rush into prayer ministry, church cleaning, or serving children in Sunday school. It takes people in all of these places to make the church work well. Our value is not in doing what is popular or most seen, but doing the job God has equipped us to do in a way that pleases Him.
Often, we think we don’t need to serve at all, but we forget that God’s Body (THE Church) is not solely in a building, but everywhere, since WE are the body. Our service to God is more than a title or recognition.
Let’s look through the list of gifts in verses 6 through 8 and highlight a few of the “different gifts” we may have “according to the grace given to each one of us” (verse 6):
"If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith." - The Holy Spirit will lead you on this one, but don’t hold back if He gives you a glimpse into the future!
"If it is serving, then serve." - Serving can be as simple as obeying the Holy Spirit’s momentary prompting or mowing your neighbor’s yard. We can help our families, in our churches, or beyond.
"If it is teaching, then teach." - We tend to think of teaching as a career or a ministry. It could be both! You may be educated to teach as a career, but are you willing to share that gift with the church body? You may also teach in your neighborhood or community by helping someone learn to cook, paint, quilt, or use a computer, planting seeds of friendship and faith as you teach.
"If it is to encourage, then give encouragement." - Encouragement can take many forms, such as sending a note, making a call, or visiting someone in a different age and stage of life. You can encourage an elderly person or a young mom. If you don’t know what to say, you can share an inspiring scripture.
"If it is giving, then give generously." - In uncertain times, we tend to hold onto our personal belongings and finances, forgetting that it all comes from God and belongs to Him. If He asks you to give, give generously and without apprehension. Give cheerfully! It may be financial or material goods, such as food or clothing.
"If it is to lead, do it diligently." - Leadership is a gift, and some people do it as a job, while others are placed in leadership positions without ever seeking them. Leaders can be born or trained. God makes leaders in any and every circumstance, and whether it is within a workspace, a ministry, or among friends, leaders influence hearts towards God.
"If it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully." - I like how the NLT version rewords “mercy” as “kindness.” Some people are gifted with the ability to express kindness in all circumstances. Their words don’t come out with a convicting voice and harsh words; they're gentle, like a baby’s breath. It makes the receiver of mercy feel loved, nurtured and cared for. As the receiver, you want to do better, because of the giver's cheerfulness.
If you are unsure which gifts you have been given, or if God is still developing them in you, then pray for Him to reveal them. You can take many spiritual gifts quizzes online. Once you know your gifts, practice using them with confidence, knowing that the gift God has imparted to you is just as valuable as the gifts God has given others. Let’s continue to work together in confidence to move the Body of Christ forward!
This post first appeared on the Facebook Group page for Balanced and Beautiful in Christ.
©2020 Marina J Bromley, all rights reserved.

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