Isn’t it frustrating when our plans get hindered? As the apostle Paul was writing the letter to the Romans, he told them that he had often planned to come to them, but had been hindered (Romans 1:13). Many of us today during this current crisis are feeling the weight of altered plans. Careers, education, social lives, and even grocery shopping is off track for many. But we must be careful not to let the practice of our faith get sidetracked. Let’s notice how even in what was surely a frustrating time for Paul, faith was still flourishing and being expressed outwardly, upwardly, and inwardly among Christians.
Outwardly. Romans 1:8 shows that the faith of the church in Rome was expressed outwardly so that all the world knew! In Romans 16:9 Paul says their obedience had become known to all. This is what the Lord wants from His people (Matt. 5:16; 28:19-20)! Christian, are you expressing your faith outwardly?
Upwardly. Romans 1:9 shows that faith is also expressed upwardly through prayer. The apostle Paul was a man of constant prayer, as he said he prayed for the church at Rome “without ceasing.” He prayed constantly for other Christians (1 Thess. 3:10; 2 Tim. 1:3) and instructed Christians to follow his example (1 Thess. 5:17). Christian, are you expressing your faith upwardly?
Inwardly. Romans 1:10-12 shows that the church also expresses faith inwardly by edification and fellowship. Paul was praying fervently in hopes that he would be able to visit the Christians in Rome, longing to see them, to impart some spiritual gift, so they may be strengthened and encouraged by their mutual faith. With this current crisis, we are desiring that same thing right now. We want to be together. The Christian assembly gives great opportunity to encourage one another toward love and good works (Heb. 10:24). Until that day when we can meet again in person, are you taking steps to express your faith inwardly to your brothers and sisters in Christ?
This present distress we are under is certainly frustrating and trying. But if we will make an effort to express our faith outwardly, upwardly, and inwardly, we can make it through and come out stronger on the other side, Lord willing.