“Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures…” Romans 1:1-2
There are a number of things to glean from Paul’s greetings in any letter. I used to just gloss over the intros (let’s get to the meats!!) but if I think real hard about what I read, what humbling treasure appears….
One of the “tricks” in reading the Scriptures I was taught many moons ago was to personalize what I was reading. That is: Where I saw “you” (for example), I substituted a personal pronoun (I, me, mine, my, etc.) I sing that way as well (“…and melt (my) heart of stone…” instead of “this” heart of stone…” From “Jesus Paid it All”). In the above first two verses, I substituted my name in the place of Paul; servant in place of apostle; and thought harder about what was there.
At a baseline, all are called to be servants of Christ Jesus. No real argument there. What caught my eye was “…set apart for the gospel of God…” Do I really think and conduct my way with that idea? Set apart? I think that many times I rest in an idea that I have been set apart by God through the Gospel, but I act like that is something impersonal, insinuated, a “given”, like “I am part of my family.” But using this description of family, what do I really do acting like I am part of my family? In truth? Not a whole lot. Maybe sometimes at holidays. But more often than not I am going my own way.
It is like that with my Christian walk as well. Do I conduct myself like I am “set apart?” How about pursuing holiness? Righteousness? Walking worthy of the Gospel daily? Probably not. So what do I do about it? One way is to start small so that a habit can be formed. Pray. Pray using the Scriptures. Read them out loud to nobody in particular. Share something about what you read with your spouse, with your children. Small. Remember you are not Chuck Spurgeon; we are not even Jason Smith. Something puzzles you? Ask and you shall (probably) receive. Remember what Jesus said about being faithful in little…
Father: Starting small is hard. Building a holy reflex is tedious and time consuming. It doesn’t feel like I am going fast enough. I remember in my teens that I thought “a couple of years and I am going to be just like Elijah.” Well, 40 years later I am one of those guys flexing from blind man to Pharisee and back again just like in the NT. You wrote, O God, in Psalms 119 about “line upon line, precept upon precept”-a model of systematic building faithful strength in my heart. May I glorify your Name moment by moment every day. I will greet every day with thanks and praise because your mercies are new daily. AMEN.