From Romans 11-13
The epistles are loaded with instructions for Christian living. Generally I like to read instructions because they emphasize what is good and encourage me to strive to live as I believe Jesus would have me to. Perhaps as we go through we could share which one appeals to us the most and which one we perhaps find the most challenging.
This post is part of my bible in a year series.
Passage and Comments
In Romans 12 Paul says,
9 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. (Rom 12.9-12)
‘Let love be genuine’ appeals to me the most here. I believe honesty is one of the best qualities we can nurture and develop. Here Paul says ‘let love be genuine’. The opposite helps us understand what he means a little better. What if our ‘love’ was insincere? Paul is warning us against doing or saying things for show. Do we really care?
Probably at the moment I struggle the most with brotherly affection. I need to value my brothers and sisters in Christ more. Respecting their walk with him.
13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. (Rom 12.13-16)
None of these jump out to me at the moment. Perhaps because I struggle with all of them. Rejoicing and weeping with people seems the most appealing. Having empathy for where people are at is a good way to serve and encourage fellow believers.
The one I struggle with the most here is blessing with those who persecute me. It my normal reaction to curse them in return. But that is not Jesus’ way.
17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Rom 12.17-21)
Overcoming evil with good is extremely counter cultural. This one appeals to me the most. When believers have done this is presents a powerful witness for Jesus. The irony is that the most appealing here is also the most challenging. I think in part we rely on God to work a miracle in our hearts for people to behave like this. And its just an empty promise to say we could do this without really being in the situation where it is the necessary and loving thing to do.
Words for believers
I’ve heard it often said that Christianity is different from all other religions in that it is not about what people must do. From a certain point of view that is true. The heart of our faith is a relationship with the living God, not a set of laws and commands.
As we have seen however, our relationship with God that has been brought about by Christ must be lived out. We still make decisions and experience various happenings. Our relationship with God calls us to live in a manner that honours this relationship in everything we do and say.
The numerous instructions given by the apostles reflect this relational fact, that our lives must now be worked out considering our primary relationship with God. This means love, service, sacrifice, communication, respect and listening.
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