Romans is an interesting book. I've read through the first few chapters before, and I know what's ahead. Paul drops the hammer on the church and Rome and sin surrounding them. But Paul is really good at first reminding the churches he writes that he loves them and misses them and wants to come see them. Romans 1:8-15 is exactly that. Paul longs to go to Rome but he can't make it because of other ministry things...that or another prison sentence.
He does point out some fundamental things. Paul is ALWAYS praying for the church at Rome, and praying that he can go to Rome to strength them through spiritual gifts and to be encouraged by them. This is one of the reasons God designed churches for believers. We need that encouragement and strengthening through the Word. The life of a Christian is not an easy one. Prayer and accountability, encouragement and continued study of God's Word are important parts of a healthy Christian life. Paul's love for his fellow believers was something we all should have for our Christian brothers and sisters. We should be in prayer for them, longing to impart wisdom and knowledge of God's truth to each other, and helping one another in times of struggle.
God's Word is powerful; Paul's ministry, it was an example of true sacrifice to God. For the first time, that word sacrifice made sense in a different way just now. I think about men who go to war. They purposely place themselves into dangerous situations where life is not comfortable, safe, or easy. They do it for no glory of their own but for their country. How much more discomfort, harm, and difficulty should we as Christians face in this short life for the glory of God. There is a GREAT reward for us; an eternal one. Heaven with the Creator is going to be a reward beyond understanding. John couldn't even describe it in Revelations in a way we could understand. This short life is nothing. We should be sacrificing everything here for God's glory, and gain that great reward later for eternity.
I'm 32. That's the age of Jesus when his ministry was strongest. Where is my ministry? Where are the people I've affected for God? Where is the church I'm longing to go and service as well as be encouraged by? Now is the time, today is the day, to live life to glorify God. I want to hear, "Well done, good and faithful servant." I've earned, "Depart from me, I never knew you." That is so scary.
Praise God that His grace is sufficient for me.