God's Got it in Hand

Romans 12:9-21 is our passage for today.   I still have thoughts in my head from yesterday right?   How God graces us all with differing amounts of faith and within that faith given, bestows upon us different gifts that we are to use well. 

That lives the question doesn't it... what does it mean for a Christian to use those gifts well, upon what do we base the use of them.

Paul answers that in today's lesson.


Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
Pretty straightforward eh?   Love is the answer.   Base the use of your gifts in genuine love.   So that when I talk with my neighbour over the fence, let me do in love.  When I mow the lawn and do a tad bit more than "what's my property line", let me do so because of the sisterly affection I have for him.  When I make jam and have an extra jar... show a neighbour welcome by gracing them with it. 

Can you imagine a church where we strove to "outdo each other in showing honor?"   Can you even imagine a neighbourhood where that was the focus?   Wouldn't that be ...weird?  People don't tend to do that.  I don't tend to do that.. but that's something we are called to do.   Something I am called to do.  GAH....I have so much room for improvement.

I am not always zealous, or fervent or even wanting to serve the Lord.   So often my own self gets in the way of what I am called to do, called to be.   How often am I not patient when I have to wait in line?  :)  If I can't be patient then...how do I learn patience for the bigger things?    Of this one.. to be constant in prayer?   Are you good at this?  Do you always have the mind for prayer?   I try to...but again... my own self gets in the way.   Not a good thing that!

How about you?  When you read these words and look at yourself with sober judgement, do you see room for improvement?    

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Paul goes on to say more.  Things that are hard.  I spent a lot of the lads early years reading him stories of missionary folk, and some of the persecution they suffered.   And it's hard to bless those who are against you.   It's so hard sometimes to look past the pain they cause to the person behind the pain.  And honestly, I'm not always sure how it's managed...must be a God-thing eh?  Where God helps you to do something that is difficult to do?

What else does Paul say.

Rejoice with those who rejoice.  That's often so easy eh?  As long as you don't let jealousy or hard feelings from the past creep in.  People are happy... be happy with them. 
Weep with those who weep.  Sometimes life is hard, death happens, illness happens, injuries and hardship happen.   We need to be aware of these things and be there to sorrow alongside those who sorrow.
Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.  These lines all seem to run together for me.  Living in harmony means you aren't lording it over someone else.  It's a peaceful equality that allows for differences without showmanship.
Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.  Oh.. can't this one be hard?   Someone speaks harshly to you and it's so easy to just snap back at them.  But you have to ask this: is that what God would have you do?   God wants us to not snap back but consider the better, the honorable, the noble thing you can do instead.
If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.  I have to admit, sometimes I wonder how to do that today.  How one communicates today in a defensive society, how does one communicate and still live at peace.   I haven't quite figured that one out yet.

19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Never avenge yourselves but leave it to the wrath of God.   I suppose if you really see this and understand it.. it helps us to see the bigger picture  In the end GOD will take care of it.  All I have to do is manage what I do.   So if someone is getting in my face, or hurting me, or being damaging...all I have to do is do my best to live peaceably with all, not being vengeful, living my life a loving, active servant of God.... and simply rest knowing that God will be mind the rest.  God's got it in hand.

That means I can be nice to my enemies because it's not my job to "get even with them".  It's God's.  Isn't that just a load off your back?   

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4 comments

  1. These passages have two of the lessons God has been working on teaching me for oh so many years: be constant in prayer, and as much as it depends upon you, live at peace with everyone. Some days I do ok, others I fail miserably, but He keeps picking me up, brushing me off, and reminding me that through His forgiveness I can try again.

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    1. I like that Carol, thanks

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  2. I need to write these out and stick them around me to see often. Good guidelines for daily life and I love how you put some specific actions to these.

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    1. Thank you, it was me....it was God.

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