Friday, July 18, 2014

meditating on Romans 12:9-21 (part 5)

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:9-21)

Hi gals. Today, we are continuing our study in Romans 12:9-31 and committing our ways to match our new life in Jesus Christ. This includes our interactions with one another. Join me as we look at the new life dynamic that must exist in the Christian's walk. We will be looking at verse 13 today.

9. Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality. As a child, my mother went to great lengths to always encourage me to share with my older brother. Usually it was over something I really didn't want to share. Rather, I wanted to keep it (whatever "it" was) all to myself. But faithfully, Momba would persist in her instruction until I would obey and hand over a portion of whatever I was greedily clinging to. Did I like sharing with my older brother who usually got the better end of the deal? No, not particularly. And once I did share, did I miraculously feel fulfilled and happy? No, not really. I usually felt slighted and gypped out of having more. So, why does God clearly instruct us to share with our brothers and sisters in Christ? Why does He command us to treat one another with hospitality and generosity? To answer this, we must understand what sharing is and trust the One who can satisfy us fully.

To share means to participate in, use, enjoy, or experience jointly or in turns. As God generously blesses His people individually, He also expects us to share His gifts communally throughout the body of Christ. As believers, we all hold stock, if you will, in His Kingdom. Jesus, in all His goodness, is both ours individually and communally. To hoard His abundance and blessing while moving forward in our new life would clearly be contradictory as it violates the "love your neighbor as yourself" mindset that we know is righteous. Furthermore, to selfishly cling to anything God gives us is to turn our focus off the Giver and onto the gift... which then must be re-labeled as an idol. An idol can be anything too. It can be money, an item, a skill, a talent... it can even be our time. I have found that whatever I am hesitant or unwilling to share with others (especially when there is clearly a need) is exactly the idol that God is calling me to surrender. And until I concede to His call, my new life will never experience the fullness I hope to know in Jesus Name.

In general, money is one of the top contending idols of Christians. Whether it is tithing to a church or ministry, or simply giving funds to a needy person, family or charitable organization - we struggle to give up our dollars. We squirm to finance and support the people and places where God could be glorified most. Why? Because we worked hard for our paycheck and have a family to support. Because it gives us peace of mind to have our own selfish sense of control and security. Because with money we feel we have power. But what power is that? Power to keep us comfortable? Power to keep us safe? Power to keep us ahead? Power to keep us happy? Is our comfort, safety and future fulfillment a testament to a momentary financial status... or God's headship? We must ask ourselves the hard question: Do we trust God enough to lovingly and generously share a portion of everything He has blessed us with? Do we believe He alone is enough to sustain us so that we may live sincerely in communion and love - hating what is evil and clinging to what is good? Think about it. Does your tithe accurately represent your new life? Are you personally willing to sacrifice "more" in order to worship Jesus and give all control over to Him? For where does one's faith really rest secure? Ourselves... or the Savior? And what better way to build up His kingdom than to contribute what we have, so that others may more easily spread the good news and give Him all glory and honor?

The same rule of thumb is true about our time and talents. We must ask ourselves what talents aren't we sharing... what time aren't we contributing in order to advance God's kingdom? Where are these things being used? For our own benefit? For our own selfishness? Every believer has a very important and deliberate role in God's family to live and love as Christ. We all hold a very specific purpose to serve Him by using our personal talents and skills to build up His kingdom. Let's not selfishly fail to share what we have in order to please ourselves. Rather, let's generously give of our time and talents in order to share His love to everyone. Just think what God will do with our willingness!

Ladies, to live like Jesus, we must be willing to sacrifice and be hospitable to one another. Let's come ready to serve where we are capable. Let's be open to meeting needs. Why? Because Christ will indeed fulfill all our needs. We are His followers. Our life is His life. Our love is His love. Nothing we possess on earth is eternal... only Jesus. Never forget that your new life does not include worldly greed and selfishness. Those sins only get in the way of glorifying the King's name. Please know that He will never, ever gyp you. He will never, ever slight you. He wants you to live fully and wishes to bless you beyond measure. So, believe that Christ is able to help you overcome the idols of old and lead you into the new. Let's be willing to give it all to Him. Let's obey and share and enjoy the eternal satisfaction and blessing of Jesus Christ! He is our guide... and His way is divine.

Jesus answered, "My teaching is not my own. It comes from him who sent me. If anyone chooses to do God's will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own. He who speaks on his own does so to gain honor for himself, but he who works for the honor of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him." (John 7:16-18)

"Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing." (John 14:10-12)

My ongoing prayer for DW's ministry is that we will each sincerely love and encourage one another to choose God first, and follow-through by committing our ways unto the Lord every single day. Our new life is now, ladies. Let's live every moment trusting His headship. Praise be our God who holds all control and power and glory! Our new lives are secure in His assurance. Our Savior is truly a treasure worth sharing. Let's seek first His kingdom, His righteousness! He is enough.

"My food," said Jesus, "is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work." (John 4:34)

Blessings!

Victoria

© 2010 The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

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