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 others. Join me as we look at the new life dynamic that must exist in the Christian's walk. We will be looking at verse 14 today.
10. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. The apostle Paul warned us that “everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” (2 Timothy 3:12) Furthermore, Jesus informed us to expect persecution from the world. Why? Because those who hate Him, will indeed hate His followers.
If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. (John 15:18-19)
Our new life claiming Jesus' way clearly makes us different from those who have not accepted Christ. Our focus is no longer about feeding a selfish hunger for sin and striving to be apart from God. Rather, our focus is about sharing a selfless love for the sake of growing closer to our Master. This distinction separates us from those still lost in the old. It is this very separation that arouses the world's animosity against us. You see, godly love suffocates the existence of sin. Because of this, the dying sinner who foolishly rejects God's new way will aggressively stand in opposition and struggle to excuse and maintain his corruption at all cost.
But as followers of Jesus, we must be able to lovingly look past all hatred directed toward our King and His decrees. We must understand that those who are still lost in the "old" are truly diseased and in need of treatment from The Great Physician. This is why we are to bless those who curse us. We are to understand their need for holy compassion and love. Why? Because they are sick with sin. They are dying and without hope. Irrespective of their selfish actions, we are not to fall back and curse them. No, that is the old way of doing things. That is THEIR way of doing things. But Jesus' way is to bless and not curse. Jesus' way is to bestow upon them His divine favor while teaching them to worship His Father in Heaven. Jesus' way is to offer life rather than death. As His ambassadors, we must be willing to extend this offer to everyone who needs His cure and healing. We must be willing to bravely endure all trials and tests against sinfulness in order to showcase and honor His glorious, restorative throne.
Ladies, it is easy to resent and be hateful toward others who treat us poorly. Sin is always easy. But to be Christ-like means to reject sin and remain calm in all circumstance while responding in kindness in the face of evil opposition. Without question this is a tremendous challenge. But thankfully, we have the power of the Holy Spirit within us and the wonderful example of our Lord to encourage us.
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 offers us the opportunity to showcase His ability to heal and save - even in times of great opposition and despair. Praise be our God who is able to redeem those who were once lost but willing to claim Him as their own! Our new lives are because He is holy and willing to save. Our Savior has indeed blessed us with a hope and future secure in our Father's presence. Let us share this good news and praise His Name forever and ever! Amen!
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