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Being a Blessing

Being a Blessing

As we go through this last section of Romans, there are some tough exhortations. But remember, this part of Romans assumes that you’ve applied chapters 8-10. This gives you the ability for what’s ahead.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.

Romans 12:14

The teaching here goes against our very human nature. This is impossible to do apart from the strength of the Holy Spirit.

This is more than just ignoring those who persecute you or putting up with them. The word, bless, means to speak well of them. To do that, requires us to see through God’s eyes. We need to see what they could become in Christ.

In this verse, Paul even repeats himself with emphasis. He tells us to bless them and don’t curse them – literally, don’t speak doom over them.

To accomplish this requires quality time with the Holy Spirit.

Another thing we must learn, according to Paul, is identification.

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.

Romans 12:15

We must learn to be happy in the midst of happiness and mournful in the midst of mourning. So often we miss this characteristic of Christ.

Jesus sent out 72 of His followers to do what He was doing. They got amazing results.

The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”

Luke 10:17

They returned full of joy. What was Jesus’ reaction?

He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.

Luke 10:18-21

The phrase, full of joy, literally means to jump and dance around with joy. I can picture the Lord giving them all high-fives as they arrived.

Then again, when Lazarus died…

When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked.

“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.

Jesus wept.

Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”

John 11:33-36

The fact is that Jesus didn’t need to weep. The Lord knew that He was going to call Lazarus back to life. But, He identified with those who were in mourning.

When we identify with others, it shows them that we care about what they’re going through – either good or bad. Many times that will open their hearts to allow us to speak the truth of the Word into their lives.

To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.

1 Corinthians 9:22-23

We need to follow Paul’s example.

Question: How have you been a blessing to someone else recently?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on September 10, 2021 in Ministry, Relationships, Spiritual Walk

 

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Out of the Comfort Zone

How far are you willing to go out of your comfort zone in order to share the Gospel?  The Apostle Paul made some tough choices so that he could win the lost.  What about us?

Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible.
1 Corinthians 9:19-20

It all springs from having a servant’s attitude.  The Word of God is clear that we’re to walk in freedom.  But it’s how we handle that freedom that makes all the difference.

Paul chose to be a servant of the Gospel to everyone he meets.  In that way, he hopes to bring the message of salvation to those who are ready to accept it.  It’s a very hard road to walk.

Look at how the apostle describes it.

To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews.  To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law.
1 Corinthians 9:20

He starts by talking about his relationship to the religious folk.  These are the people who believe that God will only bless you if you maintain strict adherence to a code of conduct.

Paul admits that these religious rules and regulations have no power to bring you closer to God.  But in order to open up communication with this group, he must honor their customs while he’s with them.

I’ve seen those who have destroyed their witness because they’ve ridiculed the beliefs of others.  You may not agree with them, but everyone should be treated respectfully.

There’s another group that Paul reached that we have problems with.

To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law.
1 Corinthians 9:21

I believe that the word Paul used to describe this group is closer to our word, outlaw.  He tells us that to the outlaws he became like an outlaw in order to win them to Christ.  All the while he knew that he mustn’t break God’s law in Christ.

This is a tough group to reach.  I’m thinking bikers, gang members, and street people.  We’re not going to reach them dressed like we’re going to church.

I had a friend that I would see once in a while when I took the subway into Boston.  His hair was matted and uncombed.  His beard was long and straggly.  His clothes looked like they had been slept in for weeks.  He looked homeless.  Of course, the reason was that he had a ministry to the homeless in Boston.

To the weak I became weak, to win the weak.  I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.  I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.
1 Corinthians 9:22-23

I think sometimes that we’re just too stubborn to try identifying with those around us.  We want everyone to see how spiritually strong we are.  I’m glad that Christ identified with us in our weakness.

If we truly want to be a participant in the work of the Gospel, then we need to get uncomfortable sometimes.  We need to forget who we are and see the need in those around us.  Only then will we see the power of God at work bringing people to Christ.

Question: How do you identify with those who are not like you?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2019 in Ministry, Relationships, The Gospel

 

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