Today's Reading: Romans 15:14-33
What might make you uncomfortable:We all receive a different grace from God to accomplish His specific will for our lives. When we stay in the grace God gives us, life is fruitful. That's what today's devotional calls "The Grace Zone."
Paul writes in Romans 15:15, "because of the GRACE God gave me..." In the Bible we see several definitions of the word grace. Sometimes the word grace refers to the unmerited favor of God. This is the grace by which we are saved - we don't deserve God's favor or blessing, but He gives it to us anyway. See Ephesians 2:8 for an example of this kind of grace.
Every believer has received the SAME grace for salvation.
Other times, grace refers to as the operational power of God. Grace not only saves us, but also empowers us to do the will of God. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 3, "according to the grace of God given," he built the church. This is grace to do the specific will of God for our lives.
Because we all have different callings, we receive DIFFERENT graces to do the will of God. When we remain in the grace God gives us for our calling, we live in the Grace Zone.
Paul received a specific grace for his specific calling as an apostle. Because he stayed in his Grace Zone, life was fruitful and even joyful in the midst of the hard work of his calling.
What Life in the Grace Zone is Like
Paul demonstrates for modern day believers a life inside of God's Grace Zone. Here are some classic characteristics of a life in the Grace Zone:
- Boldness (v15): Paul could be bold because he knew he was in the will of God.
- Knowing who to minister to (v16): Paul knew that he was a minister to the Gentiles. Knowing what people you are called to reach in your community or workplace is a big part of staying in the Grace Zone. Otherwise, you will feel overwhelmed by the need around you.
- Knowing your specific role (v16): Paul states that he was observing his 'priestly duty.' When we know our specific role, we are in the Grace Zone. This makes it easier to focus on the task God has given us rather than comparing ourselves to others.
- Knowing your service is to God (v17): Paul mentions his 'service to God.' When we focus on serving God, rather than pleasing people, we can be in the Grace Zone.
- Living from our testimony (v19): Paul says that he will not 'venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished' through him. He does not rely on the grace of others but knows that he has a unique testimony and a unique ministry in the grace of God. Our testimony is our primary source of ministry because it reveals the grace God has given us!
- The Power of God (v19): When our ministry is based on God's power and not our own wise and persuasive words, we are able to fully rely on God rather than our own performance. This keeps us in the Grace Zone.
- Full Proclamation (v19): When we are in the Grace Zone, we know our boundaries. We know our role and who we are to minister to. As a result, we have the time and resources to fully proclaim the Gospel to those in our sphere of influence.
- Godly, not selfish ambition (v20): Paul's ambition is to make God famous, not himself. When we desire to build our own kingdom rather than God's, we force ourselves out of grace.
Paul ends today's reading with some practical notes to the church regarding his plans to visit Rome.
Remember, regardless of your plans, plan to be in the Grace Zone today.