Feb 10, 2010

Romans 12

I'm not quite sure how I missed this amazing chapter in the Bible but I read it yesterday during my quiet times with God and it spoke to me in so many different ways. It challenged me so much about how we are to live our lives - it's really good stuff!

I read the New Living Translation version as that is what speaks to me most - I love the way it is worded, it makes sense to me and I love how simple it is.

The first verse I loved was verse 2. "Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect."

It challenged me. It challenged me to let God transform my mind and thoughts because it is so easy in life to form our own opinions on things, people, etc. and think a certain way. God wants to change the way we think. I also love how it states that God's will for us is GOOD. So many times we accept BAD things as God's will for us (sickness, tragedy, suffering) and it's not God!!!! God's will for us is GOOD so we know when bad things happen in our lives, it is not God who gives them or brings them.

I also love the part in verse 3 that tells us to not think we are better than we really are. To be honest in evaluating ourselves, measuring ourselves by the faith God has given us. It can be easy to sometimes judge others and think we are better than them. It's a big NO-NO!

In verses 6-8 it talks about how God gives us different gifts for doing certain things well. It says, "So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly." It is important to recognize our gifts and to use them to bless and minister to others because a gift is to be given and if we don't know the gifts God has given us then how can we use them? How can we give them? Good stuff.

Now, here comes some really good stuff - verse 9. "Don't just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good." Wow. How often do we just pretend to love others but in our hearts and with our words we really aren't loving them? I know I am guilty of it. It can be so easy to judge others at times instead of simply loving them ya know? We are all sinners, we all make mistakes and we are commanded to not judge others (Matthew 7:1) but to LOVE. I just love that. I love the "Don't pretend to love others - really love them." It just really spoke to me and challenged me in all of my relationships with others. Am I expressing love but sometimes really judging in my heart? Forgive me God for those times!! I want to really love people!

Verses 10-16 say this: "Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. (Sooo good!) When God's people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you. (A hard one!) Don't curse them; pray that God will bless them. Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. 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!"

I love that! It is so easy at times to think we know it all! Ha - we definitely don't! We are to never pay back evil with evil and we are to do things in such a way that everyone can see that we are honorable. We are to do all we can to live in peace with everyone. (Romans 12:17-18)

Is it just me or is Romans 12 full of challenging stuff?! I know I've read Romans many times but wow - almost the whole chapter jumped off the page at me yesterday and I want to start applying these things in my life. If we could all strive towards really loving people and not just pretending to love people it is amazing how different our lives would be.

I encourage you to read Romans 12 when you have some quiet time and ask God to speak to you - He definitely spoke to me. I think it may just be my favorite chapter in the Bible :)

Learning to really love others,
Momma Keri

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