I myself am convinced, my brothers and sisters, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with knowledge and competent to instruct one another. (Romans 15:14)
Paul’s encouragement to the church in Rome is clear, easy to understand:
Goodness—Impacting others begins on the inside because it takes the integrity to consistently make good decisions. This doesn’t mean perfect, it means influencing others requires faithfulness.
Knowledge—You can’t help a person take a step forward if you don’t know what that step ought to be. The more you know, the more you can help because increased knowledge increases your potential to impact others. If you are good, but you lack knowledge, you will never be able to impart more than just the basic essentials of the faith. When you have both goodness and knowledge, people will see your wisdom through your good life.
Competence—Without skill, there can be no communication. Competence adds discernment to knowledge: It tells you what to say, when to say it, and how to say it best.
As it relates to instructing and impacting others: goodness gives you the authority, knowledge creates capacity, and competency gives you the ability to make a difference.
This teaching is simple. So simple that it seems self evident…until you think about all the crazy, broken ways we try to influence others. What is the World’s Way for making an impact? We exchange goodness for selfishness. Thoughtful knowledge is exchanged with clever catch phrases, cliches, or tweets. Rather than pursuing genuine skill and competence, we puff ourselves up to look like we are capable.
Let’s not be motivated by fear and insecurity and hunger for power. Instead lets pursue goodness and knowledge, and competence.
“The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself in love.” (Galatians 5:6)
We may confess salvation by faith with our mouths, but in our hearts we work to keep (or earn more of) God’s love.
The proof is in our pride: the false belief that we are somehow better than others because of what we’ve done for God.
There can be no doubt, doing things for God is vitally important, essential in this way: “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself in love.” Faith must be expressed because it is a belief that is strong enough to translate into action. Weak beliefs are called opinions. And they flee fast when action is required to prove their worth.
The Galatians began in faith, but fell into a works mentality. Paul spoke definitively to correct their error.
Two questions are useful here:
- How should my faith express itself?
- How can I earn more of God’s love?
The first question takes a lifetime of perseverance to answer. The second is much more simple: nothing.
“… it was because of an illness that I first preached the gospel to you…” (Galatians 4:13)
Scripture tells us that Paul’s illness was a trial for the Galatians. He praised them for not treating him with contempt or scorn–implying that their response was uncommon, unique, mature.
If it was a trial for them, imagine how difficult it must have been for Paul!
The hard truth is that hardships can open doors that would otherwise be closed. When life gets difficult, we are quick to complain. We settle for mere survival. What if our goal was not to simply get through, but to be used by God in the midst of hardship.
In times of stress we may find new opportunities to be faithful. Let’s commit to a new prayer:
God, help me in this season and open my eyes to see how you are calling me to act.
Recently, I was working at a starbucks and I overheard a conversation between the store manager and a general contractor. What captured my attention was the passion and excitement in their voices. Their anticipation was infectious, I wanted to pull out a radial saw and help. Continue reading “why building new things is exciting”
To live is Christ and to die is gain. (Philippians 1:21)
Can you imagine a statement more bold?
Who can say–with confidence–that death is a good thing?
Continue reading “when death is a good thing”