Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality
We are called to rely on God as our provider. He is the source of everything we need. Living a life as an image bearer of Christ leads us down a path that may differ from the one we think is best. We are to have faith that God’s plans are better and His provision more abundant than we could provide for ourselves. Relying on God assures that His provision is appropriate for the journey He made us to travel. God blesses His faithful to overflowing so that we might show the same blessings to the people around us. We are to contribute to the needs of fellow believers as we work together to glorify God and His kingdom. We are also called to show hospitality to all people and love them as we love ourselves. I believe that God’s blessing used in accordance to His will results in joy and peace which is provision only God can give.
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer
Biblical hope is the anticipation of a favorable outcome under God’s guidance. More specifically, hope is the confidence that what God has done for us in the past guarantees our participation in what God will do in the future. [Holman Bible Dictionary] Based on biblical hope, we must rely on God through trust in His plan. We can rejoice in hope because we know that God will do for us what is best and walk with us in tribulation. God’s timing is perfect. When things get tough times slows to a stop. God uses that time to draw you closer to Him as He moves things into place to bring about His will. Be patient as He mold both you and the situation to glorify Him. Our rejoicing and patience is made complete in prayer. Our favorable outcome is in God’s guidance and not our own. We must rely on prayer to let God fill us with His peace and communicate His truth. Reaching out in prayer makes rejoicing and patience possible as God provides all that we need to sustain ourselves in any storm.
Serve the Lord
Service of the Lord is an abandoning of self in its most complete form. Serving God requires that we keep our eyes on our purpose in His kingdom. We must allow God to fill us with His spirit and allow Him to mature the spirit and guide us. Our fallen nature inclines us to try and lead ourselves by what we can see and understand. How much more fulfilling is our service to God if we accept what our all-seeing and all-knowing Lord leads us in? How much joy and peace can we find than if we rely on a God whose love for us will bless us beyond our own imaginations? Truly serving God requires a selflessness that looks out of place in this selfish world. The light that shines from a selfless believer draws attention to the focus of our servitude. Our service gives glory to God. We were created to give God glory. Do it in service to the Lord.
Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit
We are asked not to be lazy in our devotion to God’s kingdom. We should be devoted to a life lead by the Holy Spirit. It’s human nature to get caught up in the things of this world, the things we can see and feel with no effort. Focusing on our devotion to, and the way of the spirit, requires not only faith but real effort. We have to spend time in prayer in order to hear the voice of God as He whispers into our heart. We must spend time in God’s word to increase our knowledge and discernment of God’s will. We must not fall prey to the things of this world. We must realize that we are citizens of a perfect kingdom sojourning on earth as children of God. Our eyes must be continually on the Father. Don’t put off any moment to be with the Lord. He wants your heart, all of it, all of the time.
Outdo one another in showing honor/give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all
Honor speaks to admiration for what is good, valuable, or important. Attempting to ‘outdo’ one another shows the importance of improvement in this quality. We must continue to always keep our eyes toward what is good, valuable, and important. What encompasses these qualities better than the most important and valuable relationship we have with the source of all good? We must keep our eyes on the things of this world that glorify God and advance His kingdom. We must find joy in the admiration of His work in us and through us. This show of honor toward things that exceed the fallen nature of this world will draw the lost to God’s light. God’s way is honorable in the sight of every person, sinfulness blinds them to His truth. Our goal has to be to show them what honoring God looks like in real world application. Only then will the value of God’s presence be understood.
2) Abhor what is evil, hold fast to what is good (Romans 12:9)
Abhor (regard with disgust and hatred) all evil, sin, darkness (anything not glorifying to God). Hold fast to God, the source of all good. True Christians are not perfect. The goal is not instant perfection at salvation, it’s sanctification (growing toward Holiness) as the Holy Spirit matures in our hearts. The goal is not to be without blemish, it’s to trust The Lamb of God who is without blemish. It is impossible to live a perfect life for even a day. We should seek to grow in God’s mercy which is renewed daily. We will fall short of the Holiness of God. We know we are growing when we are able to recognize our moments of failure, take that moment captive in Jesus, and grow from that lesson. Repeated recognition of our sin puts light into that darkness and matures our spirit. Only with the power of God through His spirit can we grow and reflect His light.
1) Let Love be Genuine (From Romans 12:9)
The only love that can make a difference in this world is genuine love. Genuine love meets the standard given to us in (1 Corinthians 13:4-8) Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. Showing love that is not genuine misrepresents God. He is the source of absolute love, and it is our responsibility to show the light of that love to the lost of this dark world. Genuine love changes the life of both the recipient and source. The shallow/ human love causes hurt in its conditional state and creates despair and loneliness when it falls short compared to the Godly version. True Christians exhibit God’s true love, through the power of His spirit.
Many people are deceived into thinking that they are saved because they believe in Jesus. There is a difference in believing in Jesus and being saved because you accept Him as Lord to guide your life. How often do we see a professed Christian so full of anger and lacking forgivness that it pushes people away from getting to know Jesus? I fell the passage below shows us what the qualities of a genuine Christian look like. These are the qualities that draw the lost to Jesus. Many more people will find Jesus through our actions that reflect our heart than through words. I will break the passage into 12 characteristics to discover what each of these qualities can look like in us.
(Romans 12:9-21) Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly, Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 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.” 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.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
God uses people to guide your direction. We may be called to follow or to steer clear of them. Their actions are useful to God’s kingdom but displeasing to our self-guided nature. It’s one of the reason we are called to love others as ourselves. We may not understand why people do things as we take offense or become hurt by those actions, but our sovereign God know why. We can trust that He chose that person, that place, that time, and that relationship to bring change to our hearts and our direction. We are called to love God and to include all of the instruments (people) He uses to guide and mold us. See God’s purpose in people. (Romans 8:28) And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Don’t let your self-guided nature hold grudges and become angry. In the love we are called to, those things don’t exist.