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Journey to Bethlehem Day 12

Thursday, December 12 Romans 15:1-7

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, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.” 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. 7 Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.

Want to please God? Don’t we all! In today’s verse Paul tells the Christians in Rome one way to do that.
He tells us that we Christians who are strong need to come along side our brothers and sisters in Christ and help them in times of weakness. We are to help them carry their burdens. Sometimes this is sacrificial in our time and maybe even finances, but it is for the good of our neighbor and it helps build them up. We aren’t to please ourselves just as Jesus came not for himself but for others.
Paul advises the Romans to look back through the Old Testament at the endurance and encouragement God gave to those who came before them and to share the hope with others during a difficult time. It can do the same for us. As we look back through our lives at what God has done especially in times of weakness, we can share this with others who need encouragement and hope.
This leads to what pleases God. That is unity! When we reach out to our neighbor with words of encouragement and concern, it leads to harmony, unity and peace with one another. We do this through our common bonds with Jesus. When we live in unity with each other, sharing burdens and doing life together, we become one voice glorifying God and Jesus. This is pleasing to God our Father and his Son.

Dear Father, in this season of Advent, when we look closer at the love of the Father through Jesus, help us to come along side our brothers and sisters in Christ to encourage and strengthen them to endure difficult times. Let our unity, concern and love for one another become one voice glorifying and pleasing you and our Lord Jesus Christ. “Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you.” Amen.