“I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another. But on some points I have written to you very boldly by way of reminder, because of the grace given me by God to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to be proud of my work for God. For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles to obedience—by word and deed, by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God—so that from Jerusalem and all the way around to Illyricum I have fulfilled the ministry of the gospel of Christ” (Romans 15:14–19 ESV).
See others for what they will become
The same apostle that wrote Romans 14 also wrote Romans 8. “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son” (Romans 8:29 ESV).
Every Christian someday is going to be completely perfect. Amazing. Awesome. This is our final state of glorification in eternity. There we will be completely Christ-like versions of ourselves. That’s a guarantee from God. Seeing each other as not-yet-perfect versions of what we will be is helpful in dealing with the immaturity and sinfulness we often see now.
What do you think when you walk past the very green bananas in the grocery store? Throw them away? No. What do you think when you see green tomatoes on the vine? Rip ‘em up? No. Those bananas and tomatoes are going to be really good someday.
As many of you know, basketball was a big part of my younger days. My teen years were during the ascendancy of Michael Jordan. To this day, I’m a sucker for those videos that pop up on social media: The Greatest Dunks of Michael Jordan; Top Ten Moves by Michael Jordan. I’ve seen them all before, but I watch them over and over. I also watch old videos of his days as a freshman at North Carolina. He was skinny. Made rookie mistakes. But I watch in awe because I know what he will become. I’m watching the early version of the greatest to ever play the game.
This is a helpful discipline in many categories of life. Are you in the early years of marriage? Your husband is like Jordan in his freshman year. Your wife is like Simone Biles at her second gymnastics lesson. You both are going to mature into better spouses for each other. Happy Valentine’s Day. How about parenting? When your 3-year-old is throwing a hissy fit in the checkout at Walmart, what do you think? Actually, don’t answer that. All parents have to look to the future with hope that the future version will be much more mature than the present hissy one.
This life skill is called Christian charity. 1 Corinthians 13 says, “Love is patient and kind…. Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (v. 4, 7). In this life, every one of us is disappointing on one level or another. But we need to see each other like Paul saw the Romans—works in progress. Progressively sanctified. And someday we are all going to be awesome like Christ.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
© 2021 by Steve DeWitt. You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that: (1) you credit the author, (2) any modifications are clearly marked, (3) you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, (4) you include Bethel’s website address (www.bethelweb.org) on the copied resource.
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