Note from Jesus
In the first part of Paul’s letter to the Roman believers, he gave his great explanation of how all people have sinned and fallen short of the Father’s standards for holy character (Romans chapters 1-3). Next, he explained how all people, both Jews and non-Jews, are invited into the Father’s family by grace that they receive through faith in My death, burial, and resurrection (Romans chapters 4-6). He then explained that will-power and works of the law cannot make anyone, or keep anyone, righteous. Everyone needs the power of the Holy Spirit living in them to be the kind of people they want to be as the Father’s children (Romans chapters 7-8). Paul finished his great explanation of grace by writing about the place of both Jews and Gentiles in God’s plan of salvation (Romans chapters 9-11).
Yesterday’s note focused on Paul’s great outburst of praise (Romans 11:33-36). This burst of praise finished the first section of Romans (chapters 1-11). Paul then began his challenging call for holy behavior. In My family of faith, all disciples need to offer themselves as living sacrifices to the Father (Romans 12:1-2) because of all He has done for them to bring them grace. Today’s verses focus upon some of the principles for living this kind of life to bless others.
If you recall, I have told you that loving your neighbor as you love yourself is second only to loving God. These two love principles form the foundation for all of God’s demands for right living in relationship with Him and with others (Matthew 22:36-40). In today’s verses, Paul laid down principle after principle, all of which find their foundation in loving your neighbor as yourself. If you want to know what loving your neighbor looks like, read these verses very carefully. These are not laws to be obeyed but principles that must be adopted and which show what the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) looks like in everyday living. Not only is this behavior your goal in loving others, but this behavior is also “Spirit-natural;” it is the expected result of the Spirit’s work to transform you into having the character and compassion of Christ. When you make the effort to live this way, the Holy Spirit will furnish the power to produce this holy fruit as the Father pours His love into your heart through the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5).
Verses to Live
The phrase that best summarizes Paul’s principles in the verses below is “Live in true devotion to one another…” This dedication is the kind of behavior and the kind of love that I am calling you to incorporate into your life as My disciple!
Love others well, and don’t hide behind a mask; love authentically. Despise evil; pursue what is good as if your life depends on it. Live in true devotion to one another, loving each other as sisters and brothers. Be first to honor others by putting them first. Do not slack in your faithfulness and hard work. Let your spirit be on fire, bubbling up and boiling over, as you serve the Lord. Do not forget to rejoice, for hope is always just around the corner. Hold up through the hard times that are coming, and devote yourselves to prayer. Share what you have with the saints, so they lack nothing; take every opportunity to open your life and home to others.
If people mistreat or malign you, bless them. Always speak blessings, not curses. If some have cause to celebrate, join in the celebration. And if others are weeping, join in that as well. Work toward unity, and live in harmony with one another. Avoid thinking you are better than others or wiser than the rest; instead, embrace common people and ordinary tasks. Do not retaliate with evil, regardless of the evil brought against you. Try to do what is good and right and honorable as agreed upon by all people. If it is within your power, make peace with all people. Again, my loved ones, do not seek revenge; instead, allow God’s wrath to make sure justice is served. Turn it over to Him. For the Scriptures say, “Revenge is Mine. I will settle all scores.” But consider this bit of wisdom: “If your enemy is hungry, give him something to eat. If he is thirsty, give him something to drink; because if you treat him kindly, it will be like heaping hot coals on top of his head.” Never let evil get the best of you; instead, overpower evil with the good.
Response in Prayer
O Father, I so desperately want my life to be full of the character, conduct, and compassion that Paul calls on these early Roman disciples to have in their lives. Empower me by the power of Your Holy Spirit to be transformed to be ever more like Christ in all these qualities as I live in relationship with those around me as Your child. Please help me to hold onto the passion I feel right now as I long to love others in Jesus’ name and follow His example. Amen.
‘A Year with Jesus’ is written by Phil Ware.
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All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved.