Bless those who persecute you, bless and do not curse them/ Repay no one evil for evil/ never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God/ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good
It’s in the depraved state of selfishness that people have to make situations even or get vengeance. Some people are evil and some good people have moments where their human nature takes over and evil is the byproduct. Some believers will even act poorly causing frustration to others around them. Nobody is immune. It’s in moments of persecution and in the sight of evil that we can truly show God’s glory to the world. Repaying evil only pays into a cycle of darkness that will have no end unless God’s light is allowed in. Not allowing us to see and act on the good of our God will eventually make it difficult to find good. We cannot allow ourselves to be lost in anger and evil where God’s power is masked in our humanity. We must leave vengeance in the hands of God who will bring about change when the hearts involved are ready to receive the needed council. God’s timing is perfect just like His wisdom and vengeance. We need to give to God what belongs to Him and assume our duties as image bearers and reflections of His light. We are called to love. In love we bless, we love, we repay with good, we overcome!
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.
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.