At the beginning of this year, I was led to lead you on a journey of discipleship reflected in Luke 2:52. That verse tells us that Jesus grew in wisdom, in stature, in favor with God, and in favor with others. We have throughout this year focused on each of these areas. We now come to this final area of growing in relationship (or in favor) with others. I remind you of the pattern. First, we grow in the inside—wisdom; then on the outside (our bodies). Then, we saw growth back on the inside—in favor with God. Now, we are back to an outward look—in favor with others. Along the way, I have referred to this growth pattern as “inside out living.”
As I began my personal study, I was astonished really at how much the Bible has to say about our relationships with one another. I sense that this entire chapter in Romans 15 is about living in relationship with “one another.” Let me show you the importance of this study by examining the background to Romans 15.