I have someone in my life who just rubs me the wrong way. This person annoys me, provokes me easily, and angers me. My reasons are valid, but my reactions are not.
I’ve allowed them to have far too much control over my negative emotions.
They are an annoyance to my joy, they cause me anxiety, and I find it hard to shake the aggravation that spills over into other compartments of my life.
They are a barbarian…
…at least I think that’s what Paul says.
I started a new Romans study, and Paul smacked me right in the face in the first chapter. The book of Romans has a way of doing that. I’ve experienced it before, and last night won’t be the last time, I’m sure, since I’m only one day into this study.
Paul kicks off chapter 1 introducing himself, and then in verse 5, he reminds us of our role in the opportunity of the Christian life:
“…we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of the faith for the sake of his name…”
Paul is talking about himself and about those with whom he served. But how can we learn from him? How can we frame our life with the reason for his words?
We, too, have received grace for a reason. Yep. We’ve already been offered salvation, and we’re sealed into His saving grace through accepting the free gift Jesus has offered. But the grace Paul is speaking of here is probably an additional gift…the gift of being able to share faith with others.
Keep reading and you see that the gift of grace is being able to be someone who “…brings about the obedience of the faith…” Part of our purpose is to do that, and the best way to do so is through our own example…through our own life and the way we live.
Keep reading through the first chapter and you get to verse 14. Paul tells us about his obligations in the faith:
“I am obligated both to Greeks and barbarians, both to the wise and the foolish.”
Fabulous. Paul was obligated to that. As a follower of Christ, am I obligated to the same? Paul knew his role and appointment was to go and spread the good news of the Gospel, especially to those who weren’t Jewish.
But the barbarians, too? Yep.
I couldn’t help but pause to think over how these two passages stood out to me. Perhaps a part of my own purpose is to be an example to others…to show them a kind of faith that brings obedience to God’s leading…perhaps even to the barbarian in my life.
…just a thought.