Focal Passage: Romans 15:1-16:27
It is every parent’s nightmare. There you are in the grocery store, pushing the cart down the cereal aisle, looking for the cereal that is on sale. Just as you find the cheapest one, your young child’s eyes lock on one that is loaded with sugar, and is far more expensive. As you are explaining your rationale for getting the cheaper cereal, it happens … the meltdown! There is screaming, crying and foot stomping.
Immediately, your face turns red and you begin scrambling to rectify the situation. Why? You know what others are thinking. Some are thinking, “If they were a loving parent, they would stop being such a tight-wad and would just get the child whatever the little darling wants.”
Others are thinking, “If they would maintain consistent discipline in their home, these kinds of outbursts would not occur.”
You simply wish the grocery store floor would part like the Red Sea and instantly swallow you up.
The reason we are so upset by this scenario – especially if it is OUR child throwing the tantrum – is we know the actions of our children reflect upon us. People will think about us in a certain way, based on the behavior of our children. The same is true in our spiritual lives. If we claim to be Christians, children of God, our actions will be a reflection on Him.
In this passage, like the end of Chapter 14, Paul says that our actions toward others should reflect the same sacrificial love God has shown to us through Christ. As a result, we should show preference for others (v. 1-4), live in harmony with one another (v. 5-6), show acceptance for those who are different from us (v. 7-11) and demonstrate the hope we have in God (v. 12-13).
As children of God, we want every aspect of our lives to glorify Him (1 Cor. 10:31; Matt. 5:16). The only hope for this to happen is the life-transforming power of the gospel at work in us by the Holy Spirit. May our lives demonstrate such transformation and bring glory to our great God.