Skip to main content

Rules for Christian Living - Part Two

Yesterday we began a study into some "Rules for Christian Living" as outlined in the twelfth chapter of the Romans.  We began with the importance of loving others, honoring them, and to actively engage in practices within relationship which build up the relationship rather than tearing it down.  The focus was on the vigilance required to maintain solid relationships - beginning with the one we have with God and then spreading out to those we enjoy with each other. Today, we will move into the ideas of tenacity, endurance, and patience - three things which just about every one of us has a little struggle with at one time or another.  We begin with the reminder to never give up.  In the realm of relationship, this is probably one of the most important things we can learn. The desire to give up is there more than we probably want to admit.  It doesn't matter if we focus on our relationship with Christ, or those we call our "everyday" relationships right here on earth, we struggle with this idea of never giving up on them (or in them).  Why?  Obtaining or attaining something is often seen as the end result rather than the beginning of a long commitment. We "obtain" relationships - seeking to make a new friend, find a boyfriend or girlfriend, etc.  We might even want to take the relationship to a new level, such as being best friends, going steady, or even marriage.  Without even realizing it, we sometimes have made the "attaining" of that status the focus rather than the relationship growth which will actually help us through the tough times.

Never give up. Eagerly follow the Holy Spirit and serve the Lord. Let your hope make you glad. Be patient in time of trouble and never stop praying. (Romans 12:11-12 CEV)

As we examine this "set" of inter-related "rules", let's not lose sight of the idea of building relationship - the framework being that of love, honor, and active engagement within the relationship.  We begin with never giving up on each other.  To give up means we concede, or simply relinquish the "ground" of the relationship to another, to something which gains focus instead of the relationship, etc.  Both of these things don't really require much effort from us, but suggest a lack of effort - just simply taking our eye off the ball, so to speak. The only way a pitch gets past the batter is because he lost focus on the ball somewhere between it leaving the pitcher's hand and it crossing home plate. The difference between a home run and a strike out might just be related to the attentiveness one has toward the ball which is in play in the game.  The same is true in relationship - we have to know what "balls" are "in play" and where they are at all times.

Whatever the relationship, the "rule of thumb" is the same - we must eagerly follow the Holy Spirit's leading within it!  He is the one who will help us to learn to serve, not just take from the relationship.  This will bring a depth which cannot be attained any other way - service being the catalyst which takes us to new levels within the relationship.  How can service do this, you might wonder? Well, glad you asked!  Serving one another compliments what we learned in our first lesson - love's "staying power" is determined by the focus we maintain within the relationship.  If our focus is "gimme", "gimme", "gimme", the relationship will have a shallowness to it because we are revealing we are only "in" the relationship for what we can get out of it.  If our focus within relationship is on "attaining" it rather than laying the foundation which will help us to "maintain" it, we will have one which really fizzles out quite quickly - leaving us disillusioned and without hope.  

Going back to the idea of conceding or relinquishing - relationship needs to be a little bit of give and take, but when it is all about taking, one of the parties within the relationship will be quite unfulfilled.  Whether it is our relationship with Christ, or that with someone God has placed in our path in the here and now, we need to be cognizant of the "ease" at which we can drift into expecting another to fulfill our every "need".  This is something it has taken me a great deal of time to realize - no one can fulfill my needs!  There is no individual on this earth capable of getting it "all right" when it comes to meeting my needs, and I am not capable of getting it "all right" when it comes to meeting theirs! We are imperfect human beings - expecting someone else will meet our needs is kind of unrealistic.  Imperfection cannot "do" perfection very well!  The only "perfect" one in relationship with us is Christ.  He is the one we look to for our needs to be clarified and ultimately met fully.  

Now, as it applies to serving one another, we look to each other and find ways to "serve" one another.  Why?  Serving one another is a means of "giving into" the relationship - keeping it active, engaged, and fulfilling.  When we stop serving one another, we become "weak" in our commitment to the relationship. Some of the greatest times of "service" in relationship come out of times of praying for one another.  In prayer, God reveals ways we can build each other up, bolster the hopes of another, and bring advice to bear on problems the other may be facing.  There is something else I have learned about times of praying for those I am in relationship with - those prayers often reveal things about "ME" which need a little adjustment in order to make the relationship even better!  As I set out to pray for them, God helps me to see where the attention needs to be turned toward me and where I need a little bit of his "fine tuning" in order to strengthen and build up the relationship.  It shouldn't catch us off-guard when God shows us these things - but we should embrace them as the very thing which will give us "staying power" and "bind us" together in true commitment.  Just sayin!


Popular posts from this blog

The bobby pin in the electrical socket does what???

Avoidance is the act of staying away from something - usually because it brings some kind of negative effect into your life.  For example, if you are a diabetic, you avoid the intake of high quantities of simple sugars because they bring the negative effect of elevating your blood glucose to unhealthy levels.  If you were like me as a kid, listening to mom and dad tell you the electrical outlets were actually dangerous didn't matter all that much until you put the bobby pin into the tiny slots and felt that jolt of electric current course through your body! At that point, you recognized electricity as having a "dangerous" side to it - it produces negative effects when embraced in a wrong manner.  Both of these are good things, when used correctly.  Sugar has a benefit of producing energy within our cells, but an over-abundance of it will have a bad effect.  Electricity lights our path and keeps us warm on cold nights, but not contained as it should be and it can produce


When someone tells you that you need to wrap your mind around some concept, they are telling you that the subject at hand will take some effort on our part to actually get enough of a hint of it in order to even remotely understand it. The subject is complex, even a little overwhelming, and we will have to apply ourselves to really grasp it very well. We cannot wrap our minds around God's wisdom and knowledge - because it is infinite and our brains are sadly finite. We can only 'think' so far and then we have to 'trust'. Some of us think there is nothing we can trust if we cannot 'think' it through, but this will never work when it comes to our faith. Faith requires trust in what is unseen and not fully comprehended. The truth we believe is really building our trust, but until we approach God with more trust than 'thought', we will never fully grasp some of the things he has prepared for us. We cannot wrap our minds around God’s wisdom and knowledg

Give him the pieces

What or Who is it that causes division among you right now? Maybe it is more of a 'what' than a 'who' that is creating the division between you and something you need in your life. Perhaps you are struggling with an addiction to something that keeps coming between you and true liberty from the hold that thing has on you. Yes, addiction is really the worst kind of enslavement one can imagine - being so emotionally or psychologically attached to the 'thing' that any attempt to break free causes so much trauma in your life that you just cannot imagine being free. But...God is above that addiction - he is stronger than the emotional or psychological pull that thing has in your life. Maybe the dividing force in your life right now is a 'who' - a tough relationship challenge between you and a coworker, a spouse that seems to no longer share your interests or values, or even a relative that doesn't understand some of your choices and now chooses to withdraw