Christ at Work Through Us
Yet I dare not boast about anything except what Christ has done through me, bringing the Gentiles to God by my message and by the way I worked among them.
In this section of Romans 15, Paul describes his apostolic ministry to the Romans, who, for the most part, had not met Paul at the time of writing. He is enthusiastic about his work and its impact on the Gentiles. All over the Roman Empire, many had come to faith in Christ, so that they might serve as Paul’s “offering to God” (v. 16).
But the apostle to the Gentiles explains that he must not take undue credit for the impact of his mission. “Yet I dare not boast,” he writes, “about anything except what Christ has done through me, bringing the Gentiles to God by my message” (v.18). Paul has worked hard as a church-planting evangelist. But he recognizes that the success of his labor depends, not on his effort or excellence, but on the presence and power of Christ. As he preaches the good news about Christ, Christ himself, through the Spirit, is at work. Thus Paul is empowered to preach with truthful conviction and relevance, so that many have put their faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior.
Sometimes we think that God works only through people like Paul. We recognize that Christ empowers pastors and evangelists, missionaries and social reformers. But “regular folk” like us have to muddle through in our own strength. This way of thinking, so common among Christians, completely misses the point. In fact, the Spirit of God dwells within each and every Christian. Through the Spirit, Christ will do his work through you, as you make yourself available to him. He will empower you to be his agent wherever you find yourself in this world: in the marketplace or the classroom, when you’re with your colleagues or your classmates. If you’ll ask the Lord to do his work through you, he will!
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: When have you experienced the power of Christ at work through you? What holds you back from living for Christ each moment of each day?
PRAYER: Dear Lord, thank you for the good news that you are alive in me through your Spirit. Thank you for choosing to use me for your purposes.
Work through me, Lord, when I’m at work, whether I’m sitting in meetings or advising a colleague or writing one of the reflections.
Work through me, Lord, when I’m in the community, shopping at the market, talking with parents at a school function for my children, or exercising my freedom as a citizen.
Work through me, Lord, when I’m at church. Even when I don’t have an official role to play, give me eyes to see how you want to use me for your purposes.
Work through me, Lord, when I’m at home. Give me wisdom to be the father my children need. Help me to love each member of my family with your love, even and especially when I’m tired and cranky.
Work through me, Lord, in every part of life. To you be all the glory. Amen!