1 We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 2 Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. 3 For Christ did not please himself …
4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
5 May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, 6 that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
Paul acknowledges we are not all in the same status or positions in our walk and faith. Some are strong and some are weak. The strong have an “obligation” to “bear with the failings” of the weak.
After acknowledging our differences, Paul encourages us all to “live in harmony” and with “one voice”. Why? That we may “glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ”.
How can we do this? Because God “fills us with all joy and peace in believing”.
Paul has the whole Trinity here working together on my/the church’s behalf!
The example of Jesus … “He did not please Himself”.
The grace of God … “may God grant you” and “may God fill you”.
The power of the Holy Spirit … “by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope”.
There is a lot I am called on to do by Paul in this chapter …
“Bear with failings” … “build up my neighbor” … “not please myself” … and “live in harmony”.
This would seem impossible and the opposite of what I may see around me and how I would ordinarily want to live my day.
But Paul doesn’t simply list a bunch of orders for me to follow.
Paul gives encouragement by pointing also to the characteristics of God and the word of God.
“Whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction”.
And what we are called to “be” is what God is the “God of”.
We are told to have “endurance” and “encouragement” and “hope” because God is the “God is endurance” and “God of encouragement” and “God of hope”.
And Paul says I can live all of this out “filled with all joy and peace”!
This is an amazing description of a dream life!
But how can life be so amazing if I’m “bearing weaknesses” and “not pleasing myself” and “enduring”?
Because the joy and peace comes from “believing”! Knowing and grasping and understanding the Good News of Jesus and receiving the power of the Holy Spirit enables a life of “joy & peace” and “harmony & hope” that would otherwise be impossible!
God of endurance …
God of encouragement …
God of hope …
Help me live out your words written in the former days for my instruction.
Help me look to the example of Jesus.
Help me Holy Spirit with your power glorify God!