Friday 7th December
‘Being a CHRISTian doesn’t mean you are part of an elite group of do good-ers or pushovers but rather being a CHRISTian is becoming more like Christ in all that we do and say’.
In a passage that both challenges and encourages, Paul writes to the Roman church to educate them in not only the truths of Christ but also in what it means to be a follower and imitator of Christ. Paul echoes much of Jesus’ teachings in the Gospels here and helps to educate a church he hadn’t yet visited.
Paul starts off in chapter 12 by telling the ‘brethren’ that they are to be holy yet humble people for the glory of God in both church unity and in their personal lives. Our passage puts this idea/teaching into the practical everyday prospective that also stands as a reminder for us today in how to “present ourselves as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God” (verse 1)
The outworking of God through us should always start with love. Love is the essence of Gods heart. It is the very core of who God is. If we say He lives in us then that love should permeate through us. Paul reminds us that this love should be genuine and without hypocrisy. There is not truth in fake love. Rather let us love with self-sacrificing love as Christ loves us with. That is the standard we must live by.
One way this love is shown is through the way we behave among others. In verse 10, Paul encourages the believers to put others before themselves. This type of affection/love is described as a brotherly love. Paul is saying that we should love others as we love our own family. How do we demonstrate that in our life? By putting each other’s needs before our own. Again we must remember that Christ displayed this through His own life by laying down His Kingship, humbling Himself and sacrificing Himself for us. His display of love showed the greatest act of ‘agape’ love. Paul here reiterates Jesus’ ‘New Commandment’;” Love one another; just as I have loved you, love each other” (John 13:35). In doing so Jesus says that we are an example to the world, that they may know we are Christ’s.
Paul encourages the believer to put away laziness from our lives, having a burning and enthusiastic desire in our spirit to serve the Lord in all we do. Serving the Lord is the outworking of an inward comprehension of Christ’s love for us. When we understand what lengths God went to in saving us from our sins, we are both filled with love and have an insatiable desire to want to serve him.
Are our desires today to love each other (putting others needs before our own) and serving the Lord with passionate hearts? Let these verses both challenge and encourage us because we have One who has set the standard high but in Him, we find the grace to reach it.