- Rom. 12:1-16:27
Today's reading concludes Paul's letter to the Romans. These chapters are filled with very helpful, practical wisdom from GOD. Let's consider some of these principles for today's devotional:
1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
(Rom. 12:1-2 NIV)
These verses are telling us that our worship to GOD is a daily lifestyle, not something done just when we assemble for church meetings, but every single day. When we behave as GOD tells us to, when we choose to follow Jesus' example, when we love other people, each of these decisions throughout our day is a form of worship to GOD. Similarly, Christians must be different than the world around us. People who are different are mistreated for being different, but that is our calling in Jesus. After all, if we look and act just like the non-Christian or worldly person, how will they be able to see any difference in us?
3 ...Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought... 4 For just as each of us has one body with many members [members are body parts], and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
(Rom. 12:3-8 NIV)
Here we are taught to be humble and not arrogant or proud. We each have various gifts from GOD and we need to use those gifts to the best of our ability and recognize that we need each other. In areas where you are strong, other people are weak, and where they are strong you may be weak. This shouldn't be viewed as a bad thing, because it is by GOD's design, to teach and remind us to lean upon one another for help, and to enable each person to feel "needed" in some way(s).
9 ...Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
(Rom. 12:9-13 NIV)
Our love must be genuine and not fake. We are called to hate evil and love good. We are to be hospitable, which means that we show kindness to people by inviting them into our home as our guests. Too few people are hospitable in our culture today. Hospitality is quickly becoming a lost art in America, even in the south.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 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.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
(Rom. 12:14-21 NIV)
We must love our enemies, and live peacefully with others to the best of our ability. We mustn't take revenge, but instead leave it to GOD to repay those who wrong us.
1 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.
6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
(Rom. 13:1-7 NIV)
Lastly, we need to obey the government. We show respect to rulers and do what's right. Also, we should pay the taxes our government requires.