This is one of my favorite passages of Scripture. I especially love Romans 1:11 where we hear that there is a longing to pass along a spiritual gift to make us stronger. Obviously that was written for another time and another place. But isn’t that the beauty of God’s Word, it spoke clearly to the original readers and it provides a powerful promise for our lives today. And it does not stop there; generations from now people will read this Word and be encouraged long after we are gone.
A little later in the Book of Romans (chapter 12) we discover much more about the nature of spiritual gifts. As it turns out a spiritual gift is not a general ‘really nice thing’ that God provides in our lives. It is actually a very specific and beautiful element of our Christian walk of faith. You will find even more about the nature of spiritual gifts in I Corinthians 12 and Ephesians 4. Did you notice that gifts are always identified directly with the Body of Christ? That is the New Testament way of talking about the church! Within the church (the Body of Christ) we all have certain gifts that are uniquely focused on building up the Body and equipping God’s people for works of service.
What a blessing it is to discover the ways that you are gifted so you can maximize your fruitfulness within the Body! It is a wonderful thing to know that you are in the right place at the right time doing the right thing on behalf of the Lord. In fact, that reality often makes our own lives more focused and more humbled.
Then there is the great proclamation of faith that we find in Romans 1:16. “I am not ashamed of the Gospel…! We are blessed to be on a journey that will lead us into a deeper relationship with the living Lord. As that relationship develops, so does our willingness to join the song…I am not ashamed! In fact, in a more positive framework, we are excited about the Gospel.
Of all the anticipated and even surprising outcomes that are possible with a journey of faith during Lent, maybe the one that could be most significant would be the refreshing realization that we are not ashamed of the Gospel because it is indeed the power of God for all who believe! That awareness is just one of God’s graceful foundations of humility.