A few days ago I introduced the idea of battling the darkness of this world with sincere love. Let’s continue thinking about how to position ourselves as meaningful alternatives to the hate-mongerers that so often steal the name of Christ for themselves by continuing to walk through Romans 12, this time continuing with verses 10-13.
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.
Again, there are a lot of powerful words here in this passage, words that are not often heard in the American conversation, but should be: Devoted…preference…diligence…fervent…serving… rejoicing…persevering…devoted…contributing…hospitality…bless.
It’s time to change the American conversation from one of self-centeredness to one of gratitude and thankfulness, to one that recognizes the giver of all good gifts who causes rain to shine upon the just and the unjust. It’s time for us to do our part in our neighborhoods, to rise up and make a difference.
What does it mean to honor others above ourselves? It might mean to stop averting your eyes when the homeless man asks you for something, anything to help him out, and to but him lunch from the local Burger King.
How does one not lag behind in diligence? Find the most excited servant in your church, and try to out-serve him. Wait, you don’t go to church? Well then that’s step one: find a church. You can’t serve a body if you don’t have one.
Before we can rejoice in hope, we can to understand it. I talked about it more here. Persevering in tribulation is hard, and there are no easy answers on how to do this. Some days are easier than others. Some days are dark and heavy. I imagine the Apostles Paul and Peter felt the same, but they never fully lost heart in their God, and neither must we lose heart.
Contributing to the saints’ needs and hospitality both speak of the fruit of a generous heart. There is no quick and easy way to test your heart for generosity per se, but here is a start – do you enjoy unexpected opportunities to give to others, or get irritated by them?
The biggest thing to remember is this – most of us just do not have the capacity to change the entire governmental structure, but we do have the ability to change the lives of those in our neighborhoods. Let’s not miss the change we can be because we are complaining about the changes we want to see.
Gut check time – how’s everyone doing here with honor, diligence, hope, perseverance and generosity? What can you share with us that helps you along in your journey to maturity in these areas?
- Battling Darkness with Sincere Love (sometimeshope.wordpress.com)