Before starting this study, take a moment to read Romans 1:1-7. Although I’ll primarily be using the NIV version for the preparation of this study, you can read from whichever version you prefer.
Sometimes we fall into the bad habit of skimming through the long introductions to Paul’s letters, trying to speed up the process and get to the “meat” of his message. Yet even in the way he addresses his letters, Paul has a lot to say about God and God’s people.
Paul refers to himself as a “servant” of Christ Jesus. This serves as a reminder that his elevated position within the Church isn’t about power, but service to God. The Old Testament calls many heroes of our faith “servants” of God. Ultimately, any earthly power they hold belongs exclusively to God.
Grace and Apostleship
Verse 5 says that through Jesus, believers “received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentile to the obedience that comes from faith for his name’s sake.” The calling that Paul and his co-ministers hold isn’t about their skills, but God’s gifts.
Ministry, whether that’s as a vocational minister or a believer, is a gift. I know that sometimes it doesn’t feel like a gift. Even so, it’s important to remember that the same God who gifts us our ministries is the God whose Spirit empowers us to do them.
It’s tempting to look at other people and think that their gifts are responsible for the ministry they have. A friend of mine has excellent organizational skills that I lack. Sometimes I look at the success she has in her ministry and wonder if developing organizational skills would help me achieve that.
But when I fall into that trap, I miss the point entirely. Scripture is clear: God uses all of us. God created us with gifts and abilities, allowing us to minister in unique ways. I have strengths that my friend doesn’t have, just as she has organizational skills I don’t have.
On days when ministry doesn’t feel like a gift, it’s important to remember that God has given us the grace to do what God’s called us to do. It is an honor to serve Christ.
Loved and Called to Holiness
In verse 7, we’re reminded that we’re all “loved by God and called to be his holy people.” And while this is a reminder that God’s love for us is complete regardless of what we do, it isn’t the complete image of what God wants for us.
God wants us to be a holy people. We’re called to be set apart and live differently. We’re meant to interact with people differently. Our love for God and creation should reflect the very character of God.
If we’re going to reach the world with the love of Christ, we need to look like the love we’re trying to reflect. When we’re wrapped in worldly hate instead of God’s love, no one will find Christ in us.
Today, I challenge you to remember that God has given you both grace and the ministry you find yourself in today. Whether you’re supporting a friend in crisis or raising a family, do everything for the glory of God.
Each day is one more opportunity for you to reflect Christ’s love in the world. Instead of getting caught up in worldly traps, allow yourself to be the holy person God has called you to be. When God’s people reflect Christ’s love, we can change the world.