Daily Reading: 5-31-16
Romans 12:9-16 The Voice (VOICE)
I trust you had a restful Memorial Day. It is truly important for us to remember and honor the people who have served and died to defend the freedom God has extended. When we honor those who have fallen in order to protect freedom; we honor God. Under God’s authority, we are instructed to despise evil and take a stand against it. Evil gains power through wrong thoughts and attitudes put to action.
As humans, we have a tendency to bury all kinds of negative attitudes and mindsets deep within us. Many times these wrong thoughts are entombed by the stone of self-denial. Some times these wrong thoughts are about ourselves; we can have haughty attitudes. Some times these wrong thoughts are about others; people we are called to love as much as we love ourselves. As Christ’s students, we should expect the Savior—the Living Word—to bring attention to what, in our humanity, needs a holy touch. With that understanding, we need to invite the Holy Spirit to bring us salvation by renewing our minds about others with whom we have issues. Jesus knows what needs to be made holy (process is called sanctification) in our souls (mind/will/emotions). In order to enjoy the glory of the Lord, we must recognize our need for salvation in every area of our being and surrender our attitudes and mindsets for the Lord of Love to bring renewal. Then, holiness can be the exalted action in our lives.
Paul is writing to the Christ followers in Rome; he is teaching them what it looks like to be true to Christ’s calling in how they love one another. Let’s read our passage today by keeping in mind each one of us needs a renewal of attitudes and mindsets about other Christians. Not all of us see things eye to eye, but all of us should pray and ask God to help us love authentically. Living in unity and harmony is hard work!
9 Love others well, and don’t hide behind a mask; love authentically. Despise evil; pursue what is good as if your life depends on it. 10 Live in true devotion to one another, loving each other as sisters and brothers. Be first to honor others by putting them first. 11 Do not slack in your faithfulness and hard work. Let your spirit be on fire, bubbling up and boiling over, as you serve the Lord. 12 Do not forget to rejoice, for hope is always just around the corner. Hold up through the hard times that are coming, and devote yourselves to prayer. 13 Share what you have with the saints, so they lack nothing; take every opportunity to open your life and home to others.
14 If people mistreat or malign you, bless them. Always speak blessings, not curses. 15 If some have cause to celebrate, join in the celebration. And if others are weeping, join in that as well. 16 Work toward unity, and live in harmony with one another. Avoid thinking you are better than others or wiser than the rest; instead, embrace common people and ordinary tasks.
I have found that Jesus does not always bring reconciliation to our relationships, but He is always interested in my heart on the matter. In other words, am I willing to embrace a different mindset about someone who has mistreated me? Just my willingness to forgive and move forward in authentic love is sometimes enough for the Lord. Why? Because if the other person does not want renewal, it is his or her choice. Jesus just wants to know I am willing to take a stand against wrong thoughts, so I can wear the marks of a true Christ follower.
Prayer: Lord, help me to allow You to roll back the stone of self-denial and help me to recognize any thought or attitude about others that needs Your holy touch. Holy Spirit, only You can help me with the sanctification process. I want to love like You, Lord. In Jesus’ name. Amen.