#DailyDevotion Not Just A Laundry List Of Do’s & Don’ts
Romans 129Love sincerely. Hate evil; cling to what is good. 10Love one another tenderly as fellow Christians. Outdo one another in showing respect. 11Don’t be backward in zeal. Let your spirit glow. Serve the Lord. 12Be happy in your hope, patient in trouble, and keep busy praying. 13Share what you have with the holy people who need it. Eagerly welcome strangers as guests.4Bless those who persecute you; bless, and don’t curse them. 15Be happy with those who are happy; weep with those who weep. 16Live in harmony with one another. Don’t be too ambitious, but go along with the humble ways of others. Don’t think you are wise.
While Paul may have what seems like a beginning of a new thought here in the laundry list of things to do we should remember the controlling and interpretive verse this section is still verse one, “I appeal to you, fellow Christians, by the mercies of God, to give your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, and so worship Him as thinking beings.” The “mercies of God” is the enabling agent of these acts describing the Christian life. Those are described and proclaimed to us in chapters 1-11. We just refer to it as the Gospel, or the free gift of forgiveness, life and salvation won and bought for us by Jesus and given to us freely.
Now verse nine here is a the top end of what I call a love sandwich the other piece being the last verse twenty-one which we will look at tomorrow. We should also understand this list of things to do isn’t exhaustive and is illustrative only. Paul will sum it all up later with Jesus’ command to love your neighbor. Paul wants us to love sincerely. He isn’t talking about feelings here. The love here and in most of the New Testament has more to do with charity and benevolence. But we are called to act this way towards others from our hearts and not because we have to.
Such love must hate evil because to love evil is to act contrary to love. If you enjoy evil things you are hurting yourself and your neighbor whether or not you or they think they are not. It doesn’t engage in the things God has forbidden. So we are to cling to those things which are good, that which helps our neighbor. To love your fellow Christians is to follow what Christ told the apostles which is different than your pagan neighbor. We love our fellow Christians as Christ has loved us, selfless and sacrificially.
The hope Jesus gives us should be our happiness not worldly things (those are just langniappe—a little something extra). Being patient in troubles, enabled by that hope, we should be in constant prayer for ourselves and for others. Generosity towards our fellow Christians and towards those on the outside should mimic God’s generosity given us in Christ Jesus.
Blessing those who hate us and persecute us is again Christ living out his life in us. As we have opportunity we should engage in this behavior. How will they have a change of heart and how will our hearts be at rest if we do not bless them for whom Jesus died?
Be with people where they are at and be empathetic. Rejoice with those rejoicing and weeping with those weeping. He encourages us to be humble. Remember the LORD God humbled himself to death, even death on a cross for you.
Heavenly Father, continually remind us of your great gifts to us and give us your Holy Spirit so that as your children, we may act and be as you act and are. In Jesus’ name. Amen.