I returned safely from my trip, and I’m still trying to determine what happened, not only based upon what I saw, but also in the spiritual realm which isn’t always immediately obvious. I hesitate to post on the trip at this point, but I know that it will become clear in time, including what to say and to whom to say it. I have such a wonderful group of prayer warriors and friends here until it is easy to forget that Blogland is a public domain.
As I continue to process last week, though, I found myself in Romans 12 this morning. One of my personal petitions before God was to be discerning about when to speak and how to speak a soft word. In the absence of God, I am politically incorrect–or should I say undiplomatic–all day long, very transparent, and sometimes a little too forthcoming about where I stand. Though these traits have merit and I know the Lord will use them, the disadvantage is that I have had to grow significantly in my love walk toward others. I’ve adopted the saying ‘everything on your mind doesn’t have to come out of your mouth’ as a life’s mantra. At any rate, God is so awesome until I—little ol’ mouth almighty—was actually able to minister to others about being discerning and showing others grace and mercy. Talk about a test becoming a testimony—Wow!
So, what struck me in the Word this morning? Most of the time when I’ve heard this chapter preached, there is focus on vs. 1-2 (present yourself as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable, and then be not conformed to this world, but transformed by the renewing of your mind) , and then a jump to a discussion of gifts. I got stuck in verse 3 today. Paul begins to discuss the importance of preferring others over you before and after he details the use of the gifts. I hadn’t keyed in on the importance of this, but it became crystal clear after some of what I experienced on last week. Without this perspective, we become arrogant; our gifts become instruments used to elevate us over one another. We throw around words like prophetic vision as if we are the only ones privileged to receive wisdom from on high. Dare we be so haughty as to think that spiritual maturity means that we can treat others disrespectfully?
The kids and I covered this portion of scripture recently, but didn’t spend much time on it. At that time it wasn’t a word in season, and admittedly, I was probably more consumed with finishing and moving on to the next thing as opposed to taking in the meat of what we were reading. Right now, we’re memorizing 1 Peter 3: 8-15, which, ironically enough, begins with the concept of living in harmony with one another, and being compassionate and humble. I will definitely come back around to the Romans passage, and I am excited about seeing it leap off the page and walk about our home in shoe leather. By the way, I probably won’t return here before Thursday, so I am wishing each reader a wonderful Thanksgiving. May you find someone to prefer over you during this holiday.