This section of Romans 12 covers many different aspects of living in Christ. In this whole paragraph we see many exhortations to the people of Rome to stand firm and remain faithful, to live lives befitting those who call themselves Christians.
Never flag in zeal, be aglow with the Spirit, serve the Lord. (Romans 12:11)
Here in this verse I see a call to persevere in the Lord for it is by perseverance that we will see the work of the Lord completed in us.
There are many obstacles that stand in the way and there are and will be many persecutions that will come our way as the scripture tells us. Thus the need for perseverance is even more important and so these words need to be taken to heart and to encourage us.
When Jesus came to the earth he was the complete package. He provided the perfect example of what a Christian should be like. He had all of the attributes of God the Father for He was truly in the image of God, and as God is love, so too Jesus is love also.
But we are not. We humans are weak. Born under sin and not able to live lives of holiness except by the grace of God and His work of transformation going on in us, as I have written about in the last couple of posts.
So in order for us to reach the place of perfection and to be in the image of Jesus Christ, we need help. We need the ministries of the church that God has given to the church as gifts to be employed for the education, learning and maturing of the church so that we can arrive at the fullness of the stature of Jesus Christ as we are told in The book of Ephesians.
In my last few posts I have looked at the prime focus of the death of Jesus and the purpose of His shed blood. That purpose was to set man free from sin and to release man from the power of sin, which is bondage to the law. It is by baptism into Jesus’ death that we receive the free gifts of freedom from sin, freedom from law and righteousness by faith. And these are given by the grace of God to those who have faith.
But this is not the end of the process. It is only the beginning and only the start of the power of the death of Jesus and what He did for us in this act of obedience to His Father.
What we see in this section of scripture is an appeal to go beyond these first steps. Paul is appealing to those who come to Jesus in faith to move forward and not remain captive slaves of sin but obedient to God.
We have a great responsibility as servants and representatives of the Lord. This scripture hints at this for when we represent Jesus we are also representing the Father to those to whom we speak.
Given that, all aspects of what we both say and do need to be representative of the life that we have through Jesus Christ. There is also a great blessing here too that comes from representing the Lord. And even more there is a blessing to the one who receives the words of the Lord for they receive more than just words, they receive life.
A great part of the life and ministry of Jesus was teaching by example. He taught the disciples many things in words, which they wrote down for our instruction, and He also provided visible examples of what He was teaching in His actions.
Often in this world we see the exact opposite. I personally have seen people who are teachers of various disciplines, but in reality they have no clue what it is like in the real/working world. They live in their theories and have never practiced those theories to see if they are indeed the truth.
The Lord is not just seeking people who just “know” His word but He wants people who are living His word. He wants us to learn it, understand it and practice it. It has been said many times that you cannot really know a person until you have walked a mile in their shoes. And Jesus walked a mile in mankind’s shoes so that He could understand our weaknesses and foibles, but equally to give us visual examples of how to live and have victory over this world.
One of the strongest visual images we get of Jesus is that of Him washing the feet of His disciples. He is trying to teach His disciples an important lesson in His actions and not to them only but to us also.
The power of this simple action is enormous. It speaks volumes about who Jesus was and what His expectations are of His people. In this one simple action He opens our mind to understand the role we are to play as members of the family of God.
How do we go about serving Jesus? What are the steps, behaviours and actions that represent serving Jesus?
I am sure that you can think of many of the things you can and should do to be serving Jesus, but Jesus himself gave us an interesting insight into this matter in these scriptures.
In addition He showed us an aspect of how He has His people placed to be able to serve in the manner that He chooses. We may have ideas about what needs to be done and may seek to do something about it all, but Jesus places His servants where and when he wants them.
Have you ever done a search on the internet for a one-hit wonder? You know, someone who was a star of screen or stage or had a hit single out that was all the rage and then they just disappeared? The search would be along the lines of, “Whatever happened to…” and you can fill in the blank.
For some reason these people’s light shone for a moment, but like a shooting star they faded away as quickly as they appeared. Why? Because they either didn’t have the talent, management, offers or breaks that could sustain their short-lived careers in the limelight. But Jesus was nothing like these people and we can see the reasons in part from this section of scripture.
Jesus provides us with an example in this section that we all need to learn from. It is especially important for those who have a desire to minister to His people, for it talks of the attitude of those who are leaders in the church and how they should see themselves.