Sept. 14 - Romans 2:17-29
“No, a true Jew is one whose heart is right with God. And true circumcision is not merely obeying the letter of the law; rather, it is a change of heart produced by the Spirit. And a person with a changed heart seeks praise from God, not from people.” Romans 2:29
I worked at Riverside Bible Camp during college. LOVED IT! Highly recommend it if you have a student in college, but that is a devo for another time… Riverside has a pool. And that pool has posted rules. And the lifeguards are charged with enforcing those rules.
One day when I wasn’t guarding, my friend Kevin and I thought it would be fun to begin breaking the rules in order to see how long it would take for the head lifeguard, Linneah, to kick us out. Do I need to remind you that I was on staff? The first rule was to rinse off before going in the pool. Easy… The second was no running on the deck and the third was no diving near the rope. We decided to run across the deck and dive over the rope. Two rules at a time!!! As we surfaced from the dive, we heard the whistle and that was it… we were removed from the pool for that day. Victorious right? But then came the serious discussion with Linneah about being an example for the campers since we were on staff. That wasn’t very fun…
Here’s the deal. We knew the rules. We were often responsible for enforcing the rules. BUT we thought we were above the rules at that moment or that maybe they wouldn’t apply to us. We were wrong. As the keepers of the rules, we were called to lead by example. We forgot the reason behind the rules. They were designed to keep people safe while using the pool, not to limit our freedom. AND they weren’t meant to give power to the leaders, but rather to protect everyone. When we lose sight of that, we miss the point entirely.
Paul was reminding the leaders of that very concept in this passage. The rules of God were meant to bring freedom. They were not meant to be a yardstick wielded by those in power to see if others measure up. And surprise, surprise… that power led to many of those leaders disregarding the rules for their own personal reasons.
The point? Freedom should produce a change of heart not just a change in behavior. As Christians, we are not called to be perfect, but as followers of Christ, we are called to be an example. That isn’t easy, but it does produce fruit! My challenge to you this week is to lead by example with your life so that people will see your heart and in turn, see Jesus!
Questions for reflection:
- Why is it often hard for us to “follow the rules” when it comes to what God wants?
- Will God forgive us if we willingly break the rules? If yes (and it is yes), what does that say about our heart and treatment of God’s grace?
- How should we treat the grace of God?