Reading Through Romans Servants Hearts
“So, my dear brothers and sisters, this is the point: You died to the power of the law when you died with Christ. And now you are united with the one who was raised from the dead. As a result, we can produce a harvest of good deeds for God. When we were controlled by our old nature,sinful desires were at work within us, and the law aroused these evil desires that produced a harvest of sinful deeds, resulting in death. But now we have been released from the law, for we died to it and are no longer captive to its power. Now we can serve God, not in the old way of obeying the letter of the law, but in the new way of living in the Spirit.” (Romans 7:4-6, NLT)
We are back in Romans this week and I’m so excited to keep examining what God is trying to speak to us through this series. In the past two devotionals I’ve done in Romans, we have focused on the hope we have in Jesus and the limitless grace we have received through our salvation.
As Chapter 7 opens up to us, Paul is talking about how the law does not apply to us when we are dead. He goes on to say in our key verse today that when we died with Christ, we died to the bondage of the law. This leads him into his key point, which is that because of Christ’s sacrifice, we are free to use the gifts God gave us to serve others and glorify Him!
Through this there are a few things I realized: Even though Paul is saying that we died to the law with Christ– which is true– before that, we were also dead spiritually. Many denied the truth that Jesus was the Messiah and even denied that He rose again, but soon they came to the realization that it was true. On another note, through the freedom Christ has given us, we are tasked to spread that good news through the gifts He has blessed us with.
So today, I want to mainly focus on the importance of serving the Lord through our actions and character towards other people in our everyday life. If I’m being honest, this is an area I can admit I lack in. And if we are all honest, we can admit we are not doing all we can be to serve others and the Lord. Our key verse outlines perfectly that we have no excuse not to do onto others. Paul states that we are not under the control of our sinful nature any longer! Instead, we are to serve God wholeheartedly in everything we do.
Let’s go over 3 quick points that God showed me here: Why do we serve others, what does it mean to serve others, and how can we better do that.
First, why do we serve others? Why does God call us to do things for other people? What is the purpose of that?
Well, there’s a lot of important reasons, and what you may not realize is ultimately, even though your serving is to glorify God and help others, it solely affects you and your relationship with the Lord. When you are serving someone else, you are realizing more and more how your life is not about you. You are humbling yourself by pursuing God's purpose for your life, and you’re letting God do a huge work in you by being his hands and feet in someone else's life.
Romans 12:1 says, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” (NLT)
This verse skips a bit ahead in the series, but I truly think it sets the stage perfectly for what our lives are to be here on earth. This is what our life is. It’s not ours; it’s not about us. Our lives are a complete sacrifice to God because of the love, mercy, and kindness he poured out on us. As God leads our paths, we are called to give it all to Him, and there is no more satisfying feeling than that.
Now, what does it mean to serve others? I have one simple answer for you: to serve others means to humble yourself before God, just as much as Christ did. It’s walking in humility and letting God give you the desire to serve the people just as He did. We are called to walk in the image of God and serving others is exactly what that looks like. Even in the little choices we make, we can make them to glorify God. Sometimes, it’s holding our tongue or showing respect to those who may not show us the same. Sometimes, it’s being kind to the persecutor and love to hardened hearts.
In Christ, you were given strength and the ability to do whatever you set your mind to. If you struggle with evangelizing, patience, compassion, or whatever it may be– don’t give up! The One that you are here to grow a deeper in relationship with is right beside you, leading you into your full potential. You are worthy and can accomplish so much more than you lead yourself to believe.
Lastly, what are some ways we can better serve and use the gifts God has given us? There are many different ways, but the advice I for you is just to take a moment to pray, fully submit to God and ask Him to use you. Ask Him to place someone on your heart that you can serve this week or show love to. When you figure out who that person is, pray about how you want to bless them. Maybe cook their family dinner, send them an encouraging text, or bring them out for a cup of coffee. Do whatever God is putting on your heart, and don’t take any of the credit.
All serving is, is showing up and being completely willing. It isn’t a giant math equation or a project. It’s having a humble heart– the heart of God– that longs to come alongside others. Paul leaves us with these completely relatable verses at the end of the chapter.
“I have discovered this principle of life— that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.” (Romans 12:21-25, NLT)
Every day is a new battle with new temptations and trials, and our sinful nature loves to creep in to sabotage us. But in each new day, continue to dominate in the areas where God says you can dominate and stand firm in who He says you are. Let Him grow your heart for others and be all you can be. He’s got this, and so do you!