I just love Paul and his convoluted sentences 😛 I have decided to work my way through Romans because I have been steeped in the Old Testament (OT) for far too long. Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE the OT; like, I LOVE it. I might actually prefer it to the New Testament (NT) because I am constantly discovering something new, something that blows my mind; the constant plan of God that looks forward to Christ from the beginning of the time until Jesus’ arrival, and through until his second coming is mind-boggling to me. To me, the OT just shows the extent of God’s faithfulness, love, grace and mercy that is ultimately fulfilled through Jesus in the NT. It’s incredible. However… I am feeling a distinct longing to be back in the NT and renew the glory of Jesus the Messiah – to refresh it in my mind and in my heart. And there are few NT books that I love more than Romans. So, to Romans, and Paul’s convoluted sentences, I return.
I read Romans 1:1-6 and actually had to do a sentence diagram in order to understand it 😛 Please go read it for yourself and either laugh at my lack of understanding or have empathy because of your own 🙂
I love how Paul describes himself: first and foremost a servant. In Greek, this word is doulos, meaning to be “devoted to another’s will in complete disregard of your own.” To be a servant of God is to be completely devoted to His will – no matter how hard, how painful, how scary it may be; completely devoted. Can you say, without a doubt, that you are completely devoted to God’s will for your life? In every single thing, that you are a slave to His purpose over you? Complete devotion to Him does not mean that you are called to a different job, or moving to a different country – it can be as small as making a phone call when He directs you or saying one simple word of encouragement, or just acknowledging someone you’ve never spoken to before.
I had a friend who I thought of like a grandpa; he was the cutest 80 yr old man and I absolutely adored him. He was my client for more than 2 years – I saw him 2-3 xs a week, every week. We had dinner dates (with his wife, of course), and would hang out every once in a while. He was not a believer because he had a homosexual son and the church kicked them out (that is a whole sermon in itself), but he didn’t mind to listen to me talk about God and all the things He was doing in my life and I loved hearing the stories of his life. After I had stopped working due to an injury we kept in touch and continued to do our dinner dates. But one day, I called him to ask him to dinner and he told me that his wife didn’t think it was a good idea that we hang out anymore. Just like that. I was completely heartbroken – I still am. But I tried to respect it and only called him once every couple of months to check up on him, but it felt like his wife didn’t really feel comfortable that he was talking to me either (I still have no idea why) and so I stopped calling. About a year later, God started nudging me to call him and I kept stopping myself from doing it because I knew the man didn’t want me to. I ignored God’s nudging and wrote it off as sentimentality or just plain old missing him. I found out about 6 months later that the time God started nudging me to call him was about the time his wife passed away. By the time I found this out, the man had also passed away about a month earlier. God specifically wanted me to call this man because of what was going on in this man’s life; it could have been one last chance for me to talk to him about God’s unimaginable love for him (and his son), to offer God’s comfort in the midst of his loneliness and pain, but I didn’t listen and missed my chance. When God nudges us to do something- no matter how small it might seem – there is a very important reason why. You could be someone’s last chance to hear to gospel, you could offer the encouraging words that keep someone striving for life, you could simply be the one person who notices another’s presence and lights up their day. We do not have any clue the impact we can have on another. Be a servant, put God’s will above your own – every. single. time. Don’t be like me and miss your chance at helping God change another’s day, life, or eternity.
On a lighter note… Paul continues to introduce himself, saying that he was called to be an apostle. This word “called,” klētos, means to be “divinely selected and appointed.” I just LOVE that. Just a few verses later, Paul tells us that “you [too] are called to belong to Jesus Christ (1:6).” You and I are divinely selected by God. I don’t know if you are like me or not, but it doesn’t matter what I’m being selected to do – I just love that I am purposefully chosen for something 🙂 Beloved, God has purposefully selected you! He chose you before earth’s foundation was laid to be His (Eph 1:4-6)! He loved you so much that He chose you specifically for a purpose: to play an incredible, important and unique role in His plan for the glory of His kingdom! Is there anything more humbling, more beautiful to your spirit than to know that God called you, He purposefully selected you to be His child? ❤
Lastly, Paul tells us that he was set apart for the gospel of God. I love saying this word in Greek: aphorizō! You may chuckle, but you should try it. I swear I feel Greek just saying it 😛 aphorizō! It means to be divinely separated for service, to be divinely commissioned and appointed, separated for special tasks. Check out 2 Tim 2:21: to be set apart as a holy vessel, ready for every good work according to the master. In the OT, it means to be consecrated, to be kept apart from the unholy. I love the implications of this – in the OT, one had to be kept apart to remain holy; by contrast however, in the NT, it is because you are holy in Christ that you are to go into the unholy world to spread God’s cleansing Word. We may be set apart for the task to which God has called us within the world, but hear this: we are NOT set apart from the world. Each of us are special, are divinely appointed for specific tasks that God lays before us but more often than not, those tasks for which we are divinely appointed are in the world, shining the love of Christ into the darkness.
I had fully planned on talking about the whole introduction, but God simply took over and showed both me and you who we are in Him. Beloved, we are to be servants of the Sovereign King over all creation, we are divinely selected for His purposes, and we are set apart for every good work He planned for our lives. Are you humbled this morning? Excited to be called, to be chosen, to be set apart for specific tasks that only you can do? I know I am!
Thank you, Jehovah Raah, for leading us in Your way. Thank you for allowing us to be part of building your kingdom; for loving us so much that you chose us as your heirs. You are amazing, You are awesome, Sovereign God. Give us ears to hear your direction and the courage to take it. Your will be done. Amen!!