In our first post on how to respond when other Christians annoy you, based on Romans 14-15, we saw that we’re to remember Christ died for them. In this second post we see the importance of remembering that Christ died for you.
2. Remember Christ died for you (Romans 15:1-6)
Look at verses 1-2: ‘We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please our neighbours for their good, to build them up.’
Do you think you’re a strong Christian? Do you think you’re a mature believer? A strong Christian does not go round pointing out other people’s faults. (Actually that’s how weak Christians try to make themselves look strong.)
Here’s the measure of maturity: bearing with and building up. Verse 1: ‘We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak.’ Verse 2: ‘Each of us should please our neighbours for their good, to build them up.’
The key thing is we don’t live to please ourselves. We bear with others instead of pleasing ourselves – verse 1. And we please others by building them up – verse 2. In any interaction with people we need to think, ‘My goal here is not to please myself. My goal is to please them, that is, to help them find pleasure, true joy in Christ.’ In Philippians 1:25 Paul summarises the goal of his ministry: ‘I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith.’
And what keeps us focused on this is remembering that Christ died for us. Look at verse 3: ‘For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.”’ When we tempted to dish out insults – either with our words or in our minds – remember that Christ chose to receive insults. Christ bore in concentrated form all the hatred of humanity. And he did that for you. Is it now too much to ask you to put up with the frustrations your brother or sister causes you?
So Christ is to be our inspiration and our model. Look at verse 5: ‘May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had.’
Paul’s prayer is that we might have the same attitude as Jesus. And what is that attitude? Don’t please yourself. Build others up. Fight for their joy in Christ.
In the final post in this series we’ll look at the importance of remembering Christ died for us.