"May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." ~Romans 15:5-6
Today I was just minding my own business scrolling around on Facebook and checking my blog when I ran into the scripture listed above. I really wasn't planning on writing a blog post today because I have a lot going on and a to-do list as long as my arm. But this scripture gave me pause because it is one I've seen and read and thought about a little but today it was like reading it anew. The original thought behind it to me was, to put it in layman's terms, look after each other and encourage the people in your life. To have each other's backs, as it were. More or less.
Well, as it turns out, there is more. Much more that I have been overlooking and I wanted to share it with you, even though you are probably much wiser than I, and you've probably already figured all of this out for yourself. Still, I think it is so amazing that I can read or hear a scripture and get something new out of it in different seasons of my life. Kind of like that special bubble gum From Willie Wonka where you can chew the same piece of gum but get all kinds of different flavors out of it depending on your mood or desire. Kind of a weird comparison, I know, but as you have likely surmised by now...I'm a little weird. Stay with me anyway.
So, yesterday...another scripture crossed my path which was this:
"Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many."
Sort of similar messages, right? The words that stick out for me in these two scriptures right off the bat are: 'look after each other' and 'watch out' and 'toward each other.' Doesn't take a brain surgeon to see what we are called to do. We are supposed to be taking care of each other. Loving our neighbor as ourselves. Doing unto others as we would have them do unto us. Being a friend who sticks closer than a brother, etc. The first scripture tells us to encourage each other so that we may have endurance to run this so-called race of life.
The way I see it, the instructions are pretty specific. We are to do this with a Christ-like attitude...and here's the kicker: We are to be of one mind. One voice. The ultimate purpose of which is to glorify God. As God gives grace to us so freely, we are to spread it around unselfishly and unreservedly so that as ONE BODY, we reflect and glorify the love of God. I just love that. That is our purpose as believers. Our calling. Simply to love and serve one another in order to emulate the character and image of our creator, almighty God who is LOVE. Goosebumps.
But we have to be careful, don't we? There is a warning there. We have to watch out that we do not allow bitterness to take root in us. Why? Because a bitter root produces bitter fruit. Because as one body, one mind, one voice...we are contagious to one another. The scripture says that bitterness may grow to trouble you but it will end up corrupting many. We are all connected. Just as our joy and laughter can be infectious, so can our bitterness and criticisms.
As I write this today, I realize how important it really is, what a huge responsibility and privilege it is...to be the hands and feet of Jesus. To keep 'washing' those hands and feet in the word of God, so that I will not contaminate others with my own negative stuff. I don't want to be a carrier of sin or a transmitter of hate. My desire is to carry the communicable, joyous, totally transmittable good news of Christ's salvation to every heart and mind I come in contact with.
I want you all to know that I will continue to encourage you every chance I get. Keep running your race. I've got your back as I hope you have mine. Don't get discouraged because as you know...if you've read to the end of The Book ...WE WIN. Glory to God!
I'm really grateful for this revelation and I wanted to pass it along to you. I hope and believe it will bear good, life-giving fruit. All my love to all of you.