Daily posts to help you connect with God
and keep yourself travelling in the right orbit
ORBIT | WEEK FIVE
ORBIT – DAY TWENTY TWO
Welcome to another Orbit – daily time with God from the youth team at St Mary’s Reigate. Thanks for your kind messages about this so far – but please do keep telling us what you do and don’t like, and how we can improve it.
BIBLE READING – Romans 2: 6-11
We’ve moved on now from looking at Paul’s life, to reading what he wrote in his letters to various churches. Always bear in mind that when he writes these, he usually has a specific audience in mind, and is often addressing a specific problem. What’s amazing though is that almost everything Paul writes can be applied to us and our lives today.
God “will repay each person according to what they have done.” To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honour and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; but glory, honour and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For God does not show favouritism.
There are two sides to every agreement. If you keep laws, they keep you safe and you get to live in a flourishing society (or at least that’s the idea). But if you break laws, you have to face the consequences. The same is true of contracts – you pay the agreed sum for your phone each month… or your parents do… and you get to enjoy the benefits. Break the contract, and the worst fate imaginable befalls you – they switch off your data. Rules apply everywhere in life, from swimming pools to motorways to schools to board games. You can play by the rules, or you can ultimately lose out.
As human beings, we all get to make one choice that’s bigger than all the rest: either to respond to God’s love, or to reject it. And like all those other examples, God’s love has some guiding rules to it. There’s not a list of hard and fast laws that we have to follow or risk being shut out of heaven, but it has to mean something for us to follow God; it’s not just about praying a quick prayer and then living exactly the same way as we always did. If we’re going to respond to God’s love, then our lives have to look different.
In this short passage, Paul isn’t afraid to outline the consequences of rejecting the truth about God. If we choose to follow evil, he says, then we will face the wrath and anger of God. And instinctively, we know that’s only fair don’t we? There has to be justice for people who do evil things – otherwise the world becomes a pretty messed up place. But that’s not what Paul really wants us to take from this. Sure, ignoring God’s plan for our lives has some pretty dire consequences, but there’s also a much better way open to us.
Just listen again to these amazing words: “To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honour and immortality, he will give eternal life.”
I don’t know about you, but this to me reads like a radical call to adventure, and it gets my blood racing. Seeking glory, honour and immortality is the stuff of the knights of the round table – or the Avengers going into battle against Thanos – but here Paul is applying this to all of us. He tells us that the reward of this God-chasing quest is eternal life – literally life in paradise that goes on forever – and he also tells us what the quest looks like on a daily basis.
Day to day, the quest doesn’t involve slaying dragons or facing off against Thanos. It’s about ‘persistence in doing good’ – choosing to do things that honour God and make the world a better place, over and over again. Sometimes that will mean the small stuff – doing kind things for people and wearing a mask in the supermarket – but sometimes the call is much bigger: choosing to dedicate our lives to fighting poverty, or working in Government to ensure people get justice. The work of God is just putting the wrong things of the world right – day by day – and it’s the adventure of a lifetime.
You might want to join me in praying this prayer.
Lord, help me to follow you, today and every day. I want to seek glory, honour and immortality; I respond to your call to adventure with a willing ‘yes!’ Forgive me where I do wrong, and lead me away from the temptation to do the things that I find hard to resist. Make me more and more like your son Jesus in the way that I think and act, and help me to persist in doing good today. Amen
There’s now a chance for you to pray, or listen to God, or simply be still for a few moments.
Each day we will provide you with a simple challenge; something to do which helps you put this little thought into action. Here’s today’s challenge:
Today the challenge is to find a way to ‘persist in doing good.’ We’re going to perform some acts of kindness – not just to one, but to three people, to help develop our do-gooding stamina. Think of a kind act that is within your power – baking, writing kind notes, calling to check on someone – and then distribute that kind act to three people. We might often do a nice thing for someone, but this is able deliberately stepping out to create a pattern of blessing. You will almost certainly make three people’s days – and improve your own too.
If you want to get in touch, you can always email email@example.com, or message us on Instagram – we’re @stmarys_satellites. Let us know what you think of this daily reflection – please – we’d love your feedback.
We’ll be back with another edition of Orbit tomorrow. Thanks for taking part today!