Beyond Sunday | When In Rome - Week 5

“Old Time Religion or Right Now Relationship”
When in Rome, Part 5, Romans 2:7-29

Written By Michael

I led Tim in the sinner’s prayer years ago, early in our acquaintance. Shortly thereafter, Tim called me twice asking me to pick him up when he was released from jail. Both times I drove hundreds of miles and bought him clothing and shoes to replace what he lost when arrested. Both times he landed back in jail. He called occasionally while in jail to ask for money for the commissary. The last time he called, I sought to build (or test?) our relationship and asked him about his faith, what he was doing to maintain and grow it. He dismissed my question and instead asked again for money. I responded with, “Tim, when you want a relationship with me instead of just what you can get from me, you know how to reach me.” I am sad to say, I never heard from Tim again.

Even retelling that story leaves me convicted. How often do I treat God that way? Do I talk to Him and obey Him to get things from Him, or to delight Him; delight in Him; know Him? Do I have religion, or a relationship?

Read: Matthew 22:34-40, 1 Corinthians 13:1-3, 1 John 4:16-18, John 14:23-24, 1 John 2:3-6

Discussion Questions:
  • What do you learn about God, about His desires for you, from the verses above?      
  • Where in your life are you likely to fall back on religion—the law, obeying the rules, attempting to earn Grace, instead of relying on your relationship with God? 
  • Where have you most recently seen God’s love for you displayed in your life? 
  • What changes would you need to make to deepen your relationship with God?

Consider using the A.C.T.S. prayer model in your prayer time. The acronym ACTS stands for adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication. The ACTS prayer model is a very good way to focus our hearts on who God is and what He has done before we turn our hearts to asking Him for His continued work in our lives and the lives of others. You can learn more here.

Next Steps: 
  • Set a regular time and place to pray using the ACTS prayer model
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