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Sunday, January 28, 2018

Established in Romans

Hey y'all! It's been such a long time since I've actually written a blog post.. but never fear! I'm back for good!
I have decided to start blogging at least once every two weeks for now since I am in the middle of my sophomore spring semester of college and life surely gets hectic as a result of that. In this blog post, I will be covering a delightful three part series in the book of Romans called "Established". Upon salvation, God gives us the foundations to be a follower in Jesus. He establishes us in three ways:

Established Identity- Romans 1:1-7
My identity in Christ was established in October 6, 2014 when I chose to follow Him. In that very moment, I was established in a new identity as a follower of Jesus. My old identity, habits, and everything else that was attributed with my past had to be put aside because I was called the be a servant for God. As believers, we all have a fresh, new identity that comes along with being a believer, and once that identity is established, each and every one of us are called to be a servant of God.
The title of "servant of God" is not demeaning or undermining in the slightest bit- it is actually incredibly empowering. We, as servants, have the opportunity to show the world what it's like to receive the endless love and mercy of Jesus Christ and show how depending on Him can really transform our lives for the better. We, as servants, get to show the world exactly who God is. What a privilege it is to be a servant for God!
Believers, we are set apart for the Gospel of God as part of our new identity. Now, being set apart comes with responsibilities, too. We are called to lead others to find their identity in Jesus and declare Him to the world around us. (Acts 1:8) There are also nasty habits of the world that we are no longer fit to partake in because of our new identity, too. (Romans 12:2) In doing so, there are certainly going to be times where we feel excluded- even ostracized- from those around us. Keep going. Stand up for your convictions, even if they come with social ramifications. We belong to Christ, and it is far more important to belong to Him than to belong to the world.
As human beings, we are simply bound to fall- and that's where God's amazing grace comes in. We all fall short of the glory of God. Every. Single. One. Of. Us. However, when we run home to God and ask Him to help clean up our mess, we are given so much more than we could ever imagine.
Our new identity comes with responsibilities, but the opportunity to be a serve a mighty God and experience His incredible grace in our journey of growth is more valuable than anything we could ever ask for during our short time on Earth.

Established Gospel Longings- Romans 1:8-15
Once our identity is established in God, one of the actions we begin to partake in is prayer. Our prayers include a variety of desires- we pray for our car to get fixed, we pray for the cute wallet to go on sale at the Kate Spade outlet, we pray for good health- the list goes on and on. God is always available to hear our prayers, regardless of what the desire is. The important thing to remember, however, is that our desires are not always Scriptural.
In this passage, there are three things that Paul desires.

  1. Strength- to strengthen each other through mutually encouraging relationships. Relationships where believers can express ideas, talk about and study Scripture, encourage one another, and keep each other accountable are SO CRUCIAL. A majority of our growth takes place with the people we're involved with, which is why going to church and being actively involved offers tremendous benefits for our relationship with God. 
  2. Submission to God's Will- Paul prayed the desires of his heart, however, he was open to having his plans changed according to God's will. There will be instances in our lives where God may leave prayers totally unanswered or give us different answers than we may want, but that's such a blessing to us. God's plan is always the better plan. We can only see our lives from our limited point of view, but God truly knows what is best for us. It is so refreshing to know that God's got us taken care of, no matter what happens. 
  3. The Harvest- Paul prayed for God to plant seeds in people's hearts and draw them near to Him. Bringing people to Jesus and praying for them to accept God is part of our identity as believers. The Kingdom of God is available to all that pursue it. 
As you can see, Paul prayed for substantially different things than we do today. A majority of us pray for financial stability, good health, and loving marriages (which are all important things and wonderful to pray for, don't get me wrong). However, perhaps we need to broaden the horizon of our prayers. Our first and foremost prayer should be to God. Pray for His purposes, pray for His will to be done, thank Him for the little things that happen. Pray for others. Pray for their needs, pray for their salvation, pray to deepen the Christ-like relationships you have with others. Finally, pray for the desires of your heart, but be open to have your prayers unanswered or even to be given different answers than what you want. Remember the old adage: God first, others second, us last.

Established Power- Romans 1:16-17
What is the thing you are the most proud of? Is it your child, your spouse, your career, or a prized collection? Whenever you meet people, isn't it the first thing you tell them about yourself? Take that pride and multiply it by the largest number you can conceive and that's how proud of your faith you should make you feel.
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek." (Romans 1:16)
Being proud of the Gospel and our faith is something modern society makes us ashamed of. Many of us are told to "leave our faith at home", but Christian, we need to stand Gospel proud. The good news of Jesus is meant to be spread to those around us, not confined in the four walls of a church or a home. The Gospel is God's dynamite- it is so powerful, it can't be contained! Sharing Christ is not talent driven by any means. Anybody can share the good news. We have to do our best and let God do the rest!
It is important to note that we should not operate as morality police to those around us. At the end of the day each and every one of us is a sinner, and while it is important to be aware of the sins around us so we can do our best to avoid them to grow in our walk with Jesus, we do not serve as judges.  Christ is not for an elite group of ultra pious people- He is truly for everyone. We all can take part in the life-changing truth of Jesus Christ.
If you are saved, walk freely knowing that you are forgiven, and be proud of the gospel God has given us. Spread the good news to those around you and stand gospel strong.

Now for the outfit!  :P
Jared took these pictures of me many moons ago (May of last year, to be exact) but they're so beautiful, I had to share them with you!

My dress is from Franchesca's.. I can't wait to pull it back out for the warmer months again! When I think of this dress, Christ-like femininity is the first thing that comes to mind. It's so comfortable, flowy, and lady-like. Worn with a tank top underneath it is the perfect outfit for summer. I love it.
Shoes: Walmart, $8
Necklace: Altar'd State (if you haven't checked them out, they're a Christian women's store! They have some modest pieces I absolutely adore)

My next post is probably going to be the halfway point of a Beth Moore study I'm doing (and so far loving!)
Blessings until next time,
Tiffany H

My handsome photographer! <3

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