Walk As Christ Walked, Part 3

This is the last of a 3 part series on discovering who you are, how you're built, and what you should do about it.  We'll cover God's Will For You, Spiritual Gifts, and Your Playbook.  I want you to take in what you're reading and dwell on it all day, then come back tomorrow for the next part and continue growing yourself.

The Christian Playbook

In this third and final piece of Romans 12, I am going to take you verse by verse of Romans 12:9-21. This is what I’m calling “The Christian Playbook”. Some bible’s headings have “Behave Like a Christian”. Today we’re going to learn how to behave like a Christian by examining the Christian Playbook.

12:9 Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good.

We have to not only be examples, but live a life of love. Remember “living sacrifice” from v1?

You should not only dislike evil, you should be horrified by it.  We must completely abhor what is evil, so that we can glue ourselves to what is good.   Completely and permanently fasten, cement, or glue yourself to what is good.

Luke 18:19 So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.

12:10 Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.

Genuine affection – “feelings of humanity and compassion toward one’s fellow humans.”

To be genuine affectionate means you have to truly love people.  How do we do that?  Let's start with ourselves.  Learn to love yourself, and then show that love to others.  Think about how you would want others to be towards you, and give them what you want. (Ecclesiastes 11:1, Matthew 7:12)

Honor each other by giving preference to each other. Show humanity and compassion and lead them.  Leading or guiding people is an act of love, just like correcting a child when they do something wrong. We’re not doing anyone a service if we don’t lead them. Discipleship is one of our duties.  Do this with delight so that you don't miss the joy that comes with it.

12:11 Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.

There are 3 words in this passage that stand out. Lazy, Work Hard, and Enthusiastically.

Paul was talking about being slothful when he was talking about not being lazy.  Sloths are sluggish, lazy, and backwards.  We need to not be like the sloth, but rather work hard, fervently, pushing forward with a persistent effort.  And while we do this, do it enthusiastically, being diligent so that we don't miss the joy that God wants us to experience.

12:12 Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.

Rejoicing =  to be glad.
Patience = not recede or flee, to persevere.
Trouble (or tribulation) = oppression, affliction, distress, etc.

What is our hope?  Joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation.

I can’t help but think of the book called “Holy Roar” by Chris Tomlin and Darren Whitehead when I see the word “rejoicing”. This book takes you through the 7 Greek/Hebrew words for “Praise”. You’ll learn all about the words, the type of praise.

Be glad in the joyful confidence of eternal salvation. Do not flee your afflictions or oppression or distress. Instead, be steadfast in prayer. To do things in a steadfastly manner is to do them in an unwavering manner. We must be in constant touch with God.

Finally, we are reminded to keep on praying.  Never skip praying for anything or anyone.  Never stop praying.  Make prayer part of your natural walk in life.  (1 Thessalonians 5:17)

12:13 When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.

Paul wants us to come to a communion or fellowship with our fellow Christians (saints), especially when they are in need.  We need to be ready at all times to jump in and help people.  We should always want to offer fellowship to our Christian brothers and sisters, and have a sense of eagerness about it. This goes all the way back to the beginning of this lesson, and showing love to one another.  We should always be "eager to practice hospitality" and genuine enjoy it.

12:14 Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them.

This is tough isn't it?  Just as much as loving a neighbor who isn't very lovable.  Still, we have our play and we must run it.  We should never curse anyone. That isn’t love. We should always take the opportunity to bless those who persecute us.  Keep Ecclesiastes in mind and put out a blessing to these people.  After that, with some time, you'll see blessings rolling back at you.  You might even find new friends and win them to Christ.

12:15 Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.

I am always reminded of "meet them where they're at" (1 Corinthians 9:22) when I read a verse like this.

It's pretty easy be happy with those who are happy, but we have to remember to love people enough to weep with them when they are weeping.  If someone is having a bad day, ride along side of them.  This will not only give them support, but it will help lift them out of their bad times.

12:16 Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!

Proverbs 12:15 tells us “Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others.”

There’s an old phrase. Think before you speak. Often times the dumbest person in the room is the one who has all the answers. Don’t think so highly of yourself that you disregard those around you, and miss out on valuable wisdom and experience through others.  Who are the ordinary people?  We are.  All of us.

We don't always mesh with everyone around us, but we must live in harmony with them.  We must carry out Jesus' orders (Matthew 28:18-20) and make new disciples.  This starts with teaching them about Jesus Christ, then building them up.

12:17 Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. 

Jesus spent 3 years spreading love and the good news. He didn’t spend 3 years seeking out people and beating them up. We shouldn’t respond to an evil act with more evil. We need to be an example to all of what doing good looks like. We need to be Christ-like.

12:18 Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.

The thing to do these days is to jump on facebook or twitter and start raging about any topic you can find. Fiery political talk is easy to fall into, but we must back off of these and try to cool the fires. We need to make peace with people and not participate in unrest.

Psalm 119:165 says “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.”
I really like that verse. Don’t let things offend you. Brush them off, throw some water (love) on the fire, and move on. The only thing you’ll accomplish by getting into the fight is bringing more chaos on yourself.

12:19 Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord.

Here Paul goes all the way back to Deuteronomy 32:23. God tells us that revenge is His. Their day is coming, and He will make things right for us.

Imagine if a gang drove by and shot your friend. You gather up 4 of your best friends, arm yourself, and head off after them. You find their house. They’re all there inside. The plan is perfect, you just have to kick in the front door, and have a couple guys shoot through the windows.

Well, after all the gun fire is done, your group of 5 may have won, but you’re going home a group of 3 or 4. Do you want to lose more friends? Or do you want to let God take care of things for you?

12:20 Instead, “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.”

If you’re still hearing Solomon speaking, it’s for good reason. Paul directly quotes Proverbs 25:21-22.

Have you ever heard the old phrase, "A way to a man's heart is his stomach"?  Here's your chance to test it.  Not only are we not to enact revenge, we're to show love and kindness to our enemies.  This is not burning someone, but rather Paul is referring to an ancient Egyptian cleansing ritual.  By "heaping burning coals", you're helping to cleanse and free them from their old ways, and moving them closer to God.

12:21 Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.

Finally, we wrap things up with a simple message. Do not let evil get you. Let good get evil. What is good?

Mark 10:18, “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good – except God alone.”

Mark 10:18 parallels Luke 18:19 that we read above. How do we overcome evil?

John 15:12 Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”

Jesus wants us walking on His path, the path of light, breaking through darkness and evil, and showing us good.  Ephesians 6:10-20 is how we put are armor on (See blog post: How To Wear The Armor Of God).  This is the only way that we can conquer evil, but doing good.  This war is not our's, it's His.  He has always won.

The Christian Playbook is a simple, short manual packed with endless information. Paul takes us down a road that will ultimately give us peace and joy in our lives, while spreading love and good news to everyone around us. We’ll find ourselves surrounded with, and surrounding other, fellow believers.

We should never want to retaliate against evil. Instead, we should strive to love our enemies. Pray for them, show them love, passionately, and God will take care of the rest.
Let us leave this time of study by rejoicing and weeping with people we know and love.

Romans 12 Wrap-up

Thank you for taking this journey with me through Romans 12, the ultimate guide to true spirituality.

For a much more in-depth look at Romans 12, I would encourage you to read Chip Ingram’s "True Spirituality".  I also recommend discovering your spiritual gifts by studying "Your Divine Design" by Chip Ingram.  Also, to learn more about the armor of God, Chip Ingram's book "The Invisible War" is a great read.

I want to encourage you to present yourself as a living sacrifice to the world, remembering that this is your reasonable service, or act of worship. Always be renewing your mind so that you can battle against the untruths of this world.

Explore yourself in the way of your spiritual gifts. Pray to the Holy Spirit to reveal your gifts to you and help you understand and use them. Use your gifts to further the kingdom without putting the spotlight on yourself.

Be like Christ. Behave like a Christian. Read Romans 12:9-21 often and practice every verse out in real life. Practice fervent serving and rejoicing with others. Don’t let the evils of this world pull you into their trap. Instead, respond with kindness and let God sort out the details.

Finally, I would encourage you to read a chapter of Proverbs every day for the next 31 days.

James 1:5 If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.

Reproach means disappointment. God will give you all the wisdom you desire without any kind of let down.

Proverbs 1:7, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

Fear in this context is a good, healthy respect for the Lord. Not a scared feeling of running off to hide. Fear the Lord and take instruction.

Dan Joseph, Executive Pastor

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