The God of Hope and Encouragement!
Scripture reading for July 3rd: Romans 15
Paul identified himself with those who were ‘strong’ in their faith. He understood the liberty that believers have in Jesus Christ. He also knew that strong believers might become prideful and judgmental, as he had been towards followers of Christ before he was saved. In order to encourage the strong believers, he asked them to bear with the failings of the weaker believers. “Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on Me.” For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance and encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” (Romans 15:2-4)
Christ, our example, always sought to please the Father and as a result suffered for it. He was insulted and ridiculed as a ‘friend of tax collectors and sinners‘! Those insults were directed towards Christ and the Father! But Christ was on a mission to save the lost, not condemn them! The Scriptures record the endurance and message of hope that Christ proclaimed in order to help us follow His example. So must we be kind, patient, and encouraging to those who are weaker in their faith. We must accept them as Christ accepted us and cultivate unity and love.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13) It is by the power of the Holy Spirit that we are filled with joy and peace through faith in Christ! The Holy Spirit brings a hope that ‘overflows’ into the lives believers encouraging all!