I’ve been reading through Romans over the past few months, digesting each chapter section as if it were a rack of ribs. The power and depth and beauty of theology in Romans is something that alternately draws one in and sends one out.
One particular section that is like a speed strip that pops the tires of a speeding car is Romans 12.9-21. I was arrested there abruptly. To cruise through it, unthinking and unresponsive is, well, un-Christlike. Each sentence is a life challenge that would take one months of meditation, adjustment and obedience to apply effectively. However, as I think about the practical outcome of an obedience in a long direction (as Eugene Peterson says) is captivating. As you read these verses, stop to consider what your life would look like if you literally began to orient your life and thoughts to become submissive to one verse’s principles and teaching.
Let me know which sentence or thought most strikes you as you read today. Which one will you choose to meditate upon and seek to obey/apply? Which one do you struggle with most?
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”says the Lord. 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.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.