Being like God sounds hard; in fact, it’s impossible–apart from Him. His Spirit is our Strengthener and Guide.
3 Commit your way to the LORD whatever you do, and He will establish your plans [show you what to do].
Romans 12:9-21 is a list of do’s and don’ts, but in a good way. They have to do with the character of God. In Matthew 5:48, we read,
48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
In context, Jesus was talking about loving our enemy. That “perfection” was about interacting with others. The Romans passage describes just how to do that. Today, we will deal with the first four verses,
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.
How does this passage apply to our 21st century world?
- Be sincere. If you’re going to hate something, hate the evil that has caused the situation. Instead, cling to that good part of a person that Jesus is trying to reach.
- Devoted- zealous or ardent in attachment, loyalty, or affection; faithful, constant, loyal, devout. Our love must be such that we are these things to each other. The only way to do that is to “regard everybody else as your superior (NTE).” If THAT’S not counter-cultural, I don’t know what is!
- Want to be like Jesus? Keep your compassion and zeal to do God’s will on high all the time. “Fervor” means, great warmth and earnestness of feeling; passion. Only in the Spirit can we maintain such passion in our service to the Lord.
- Our hope is in the resurrection, first of Christ, and second of ourselves. In this hope, we can be joyful even in the face of death and all its subsets. Our joy helps us be patient in affliction, and it’s all wrapped up in our relationship with Jesus Christ. We call out to Him even as He reaches out to us.
- Because we are destined to go to His place, we have no need to accumulate and hoard earthly goods. To share hospitably means to share hilariously (with great cheerfulness; see 2 Corinthians 9:7).
Can you see Jesus in this passage? It describes Him at the well, on the road from Tyre, at Zacchaeus’ house, and in every town He came to. He wants us to be just like Him.
Tomorrow, we will look at a few more of the verses.
Abba, it’s hard to be like You when things are hard because I don’t feel like being like You at that time. Help me to look beyond my feelings to the inner power we have as Your children. As I grow and learn about You, I know that you strengthen me with all power according to Your glorious might so that I may have great endurance and patience, giving joyful thanks to You, my Father (taken from Colossians 1:9-13). Have Your way in me, I beg of You. Amen.