Endurance to live in harmony? That is just a strange title to a devotional. At first, it may seem a bit odd, but if you put some thought into it, you start to see the truth in it. Living in harmony isn’t singing kumbaya all the time. When you have a group of people who decided to walk through life together, you are going to have challenging moments. There will be times some are going through struggles, and the others will have to come alongside them and help out. It will take an endurance mentality to get through it.
We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For Christ did not please himself… Now may the God who gives endurance and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, according to Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Guidelines for the Church
I mentioned this before, but Paul likes to finish his letters to the churches with a bunch of instructions. Romans is no different. He lays guidelines for how the church is to operate as a body. We are to bear the burdens of the weak, build up our neighbors, live in harmony, and glorify the Lord. None of these are simple tasks that can be done quickly. These are behaviors that we commit to over an extended period of time.
Bear Others Burdens
Some people are going through periods of discouragement. Maybe something tragic has happened, and they don’t have the strength to make it on their own. We are called as mature saints to walk with them and bear some of their burdens. It is vital that we reject our personal preferences while doing so. We can never have the attitude of “What’s in it for me?”
Build Your Neighbors
We should also be building up our neighbors. These are the people who live on either side of us. As Christians, we should be doing everything we can to show the love of Christ. When they are going to difficulties, we need to be there for them. When they know who we serve they will seek us out in times of need.
Endurance and encouragement are essential to all of these instructions. We have to take a long-range outlook. We need endurance because we are sojourners on a journey and we journey with others who need our help. We need encouragement because they aren’t the most pleasant people to serve. There will be days where our eyes aren’t on the Lord, and we will get discouraged. Endurance and encouragement are two things that will help us make it.