More Than Me

So, do you ever feel like the very people you want to love, you really need an interminable vacation from?

Yes, come on, I’m not the only one!

Then, again, maybe it is just a problem with me. Maybe, the people I think I need to run from, for the sake of preserving myself, are really helping me in ways I can’t see. Maybe what I need is less time considering me, more time living for the good of others. Like Jesus; like I have more to live for than myself. And I do, so why does that come so hard? If to live is Christ, to die is gain, then certainly I can afford to die to self for the sake of living that others might share the joy of that same gain. After all, will my life mean anything unless I live it this way, with Romans 12 as my Spirit-led orientation?

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

I’m speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God has given me, and especially as I have responsibilities in relation to you. Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it’s important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him.

In this way we are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. The body we’re talking about is Christ’s body of chosen people. Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of his body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we wouldn’t amount to much, would we? So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ’s body, let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t.

If you preach, just preach God’s Message, nothing else; if you help, just help, don’t take over; if you teach, stick to your teaching; if you give encouraging guidance, be careful that you don’t get bossy; if you’re put in charge, don’t manipulate; if you’re called to give aid to people in distress, keep your eyes open and be quick to respond; if you work with the disadvantaged, don’t let yourself get irritated with them or depressed by them. Keep a smile on your face.

Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.

Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.

Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down. Get along with each other; don’t be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great somebody.

Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.”

Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he’s thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness. Don’t let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.

Romans 12

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4 thoughts on “More Than Me

  1. This reminds me of how i feel about my mother. I know I need to love her but I often think an interminable vacation would be good because I would not fall so many times dealing with her. But, maybe God had a plan for placing me in her womb. The hardships I face because of her are teaching me things that I will probably need to use later. God is good. It’s hard to see it sometimes, but He always knows what He’s doing.

    1. I can certainly identify with “hard to see,” I always prefer to believe what is most visible to me at the time. I’m sorry that your relationship with your mom is not what you want; I don’t know the specifics of your pain, but I would like to pray for you — relational disappointments with those closest to us are some of the hardest things to deal with in this life. But, I am reminded that our trials make us stronger and more capable of ministering to others, when He has allowed brokenness to nestle in so closely to us. And, think of the gain of identifying more fully with Christ, who bore all our sins and afflictions for us on the cross. I want you to know His peace that surpasses our understanding of even our deepest devastation and failure. God will live with you in the midst of this; I have seen Him do it with me. If He did not, I would not be hear to speak of His grace with you today. Please know that God has a special plan, as you said, which He may choose to work out apart from your knowledge and emphatic approval; yet He will not fail to comfort and invigorate you today with His love that makes us complete in hope.

      Choosing to Live in Hope,
      Elaine

      1. Yes, I know God will live with me. That is such good news. My imperfections are not too ugly for Him. Thank goodness. I know there is a plan… even if I don’t feel like there is one, I know it.

      2. And God will not leave you hanging where you are; He will build you up, supplying what is missing in your heart, retarding all the doubts and fears of many years that keep you from trusting fully in His purposes and timing. I am excited to see what God does with you, how He uses what tensions you would never choose to awaken your heart to all that He has in store for you according to your identity and destiny in Him alone.

        I am that You know God is with you, and can handle all that comes with you — I am learning more of what that means everyday, and as I do His love is becoming more precious to me; I never knew anyone could be this good to me! And I hope that He continues to show you His love in ways that you never expected to find Him connecting Himself with you.

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