As children during World War 2, we all had to learn to do without, or substitute.  I assure you that it was a challenge.  Often our substitutes did not hold up to our expectations, and you ended up with a substitution for the substitute.

One of our favorite substitutes was a hefty oleander branch for our bow, and for arrows we secured some straight growths down by the pond.  They did not work as well as Robin Hood and his merry men, but they did provide lots of enjoyment until the oleander dried out and cracked.

I am certain that many of you have discovered such things.  One of the things that are troublesome to every Christian is to bend. Bending to others, only to end up feeling that you are being used, and there is not any intention of that person to show an effort to follow the principles of Scripture.

I encountered someone along that line.  After visit upon visit to assist him, I was aggravated and told him if he called me again when he was drunk, I was going to give him a kick in the rear end.  He called!  As I entered his home he reached to take my hand.  I took his, pulled his hand and kicked him solidly.  As he gathered himself from the fireplace he said: “You did what you said you would!”  I did not get the joy of leading him to Christ that day, but he later invited Christ to be his Savior and Lord, serving Him until his death.

I certainly would not endorse such efforts.  I had lost my cool momentarily, but my “big mouth” placed me in a difficult place where pride was dominant.  After that we enjoyed precious experiences together.

Paul had been piling doctrine upon the believers at Rome in the opening chapters of Romans.  From Romans 12 on, he deals with Christian Character, reminding them that our bodies are to be spiritual sacrifices to God.(12:1)  In relationship to other members of the Lord Jesus, they are not the only “gifted” individual in the body; God has placed you there one by one, with a gift that should be exercised to glorify HIM.  Sometimes it may be identical to another’s, and sometimes it may be a single gift within the assembly.  Let it be used in a manner that others will identify it and not be abused in any way. (12:5-9)

Often in an assembly there are those who “ruffle feathers” constantly.  They may also be doing things within the public realm that needs attention by the leadership. You cannot overlook such activity!  Explain to the brother what is offensive and why.  Next, become his/her prayer partner and approach together the problem, determined to take nothing less than a solution!  Be humble and don’t grumble!  (12-21)

The warnings that follow are indicative of actions that bespeak one’s ongoing relationship to the Lord.  (What about our governors, other members, etc. allows us all to be in attendance to ourselves as well as others?)  Most importantly, I must remember: “whatever is not of faith is sin.” (13-23)

Paul loses no time in telling us that we are not to let our feelings surmount our responsibilities.  In all things, because of who we are in Christ “be flexible” or you will dry up and crack… useless!

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