When in Rome–Week 5

Relationships Matter

Today’s blog is about relationships. Specifically my relationship with people after I became a Christ follower.

There’s no question that my relationships became different as time passed and there’s no question that it was difficult to establish the new way to have relationships with people through Christ. I thought that it would be easy, but it wasn’t so simple. I had changed in my inner spirit, at least the way i viewed who Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit were relationally to me, Those relationships were now far more personal and deeper and more meaningful and the bible made more sense to me than ever before.

However my thoughts about people hadn’t changed along with it. Almost all of my friends at the time that I became a Christian were not Christians. And those relationships suffered because i withdrew from a huge portion of my past lifestyle. That’s the “do not conform to the patterns of this world” part for me, I didn’t leave the people from those relationships as much as they didn’t want me around them any longer. My new thoughts towards people and how to handle those relationships needed help. I found the right words in the book of Romans. Romans 12 begins with the word (therefore) I’ve learned that means I need to know what happened in God’s word before what I am reading now. So I back up to Romans 11 which talks about grace, Gods grace for me the person who is not from Jewish descent.

In Romans 11, it talks about gardening and being grafted into the main VINE of the (chosen Olive Tree.) that would mean (descendants of Abraham) grafted in where some of the natural branches have been cut off from the main branch for their unbelief. So i better not do this…. fall away from unbelief, for if God didn’t spare the natural branches why would he spare me the grafted in one for doing the same thing.

I’m not confused about this, it makes sense its simple gardening. God’s grace saved me and he tells me not to be arrogant BECAUSE I have been grafted in where its natural branches used to be, and to remember that the branch that I am grafted into is fed from the root, and that root is Jewish by nature, therefore I must not be conceded and think of myself more highly than I should and I must remain in my belief and not fall. It was with that humbled mind set that Romans 12 speaks living words of wisdom.

Romans 12:1-2 reads, Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

So I gathered from that read, That because of Gods mercy for me and by changing the way I think about who i am and how i choose to live my life, and by not following the ways of popularity of the worlds approach and the need of their approval of my choices, it will change the outcome of the relationships that I’m dealing with in my life. Both with God and mankind. It continues with this… Romans 12:4-5 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.

This is where I get my NEW THOUGHTS going. So just as I have my physical body with its different parts like my eyes, hands, feet, ears, nose, mouth, heart, lungs its still ONE body. I now have this NEW BODY, because i have become a Christian. And I no longer belong to myself but to all the other people in the church..SAY WHAT?

If that’s the truth, then how I think and how I live in private, and in public is subject to the rest of the ONE body, and its members. In other words, I need to be the best version of me through a renewed way of thinking for all the other people in the church. And I need to also be PRESENT to be WITH them at church regardless of whether or not they conform to this new thinking. I need to be available to be seen and to be ready to help the other members of the ONE BODY. I need to be in the body even if my life gets tough.

This is so true. I know that when I make the devoted choice to drag my butt to church again when life’s struggles or its business are pulling me the other way, and I walk through the doors to find the woman whose husband just abandoned a 25 year marriage or the man who just buried his sister to the grave days earlier standing in the lobby, that I without a doubt made the right choice for the rest of the body. Its a new way of treating relationships for me. And it has been very fulfilling.

Now there is still the relationships with the rest of the world, the non believers.

So I must return back to Romans 12:9-21 Here is a brief summary stolen from my Bible’s footnotes of these verses. Stop pretending how to love and how to speak kind words, stop pretending to be compassionate. Sincere love requires concentration and effort. It means helping others become better people. It demands our time, money, and personal involvement.

Honor people because they are created in Gods image not because of who they are in their position or stature or wealth. Be hospitable even with a messy house and Top Ramen for a meal, not just when things are clean and above average. You can be hospitable even when your too tired, or too busy or not wealthy enough to entertain.

Be willing to forgive because you have experienced Gods grace, don’t you want to pass on what that is like to experience. Remember grace is undeserved favor. Do not repay evil with evil, but with good. Kind words or a smile and right actions can diffuse a bomb. Be willing to forgive. be kind to those who persecute you, turn an enemy into a friend if possible. Live at peace with everyone.

WOW! What a big order to follow, right? But remember… “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

Wayne Clinton