Scripture Reading: Romans 12:14-21
“Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be conceited. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” (Romans 12:16-18)
As I read thought these verses, I questioned my ability to do what they tell me to do. How on earth can I obey these exhortations? Of course, living in peace and harmony with some people is fairly easy. But what about the difficult, irregular people in my life? What about those who irritate me or even speak harshly of me? What about those who are critical of me and who oppose me? I could make a list of names right now of people who fall into these categories. They are people that I have to deal with on a regular basis.
It gets more difficult — “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God” (v. 19). “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (v. 21). How can we possibly do these things? I want to react to those who attack me. I get defensive and even angry with them. How can I overcome the evil that some people have directed toward me to good?
We can never do these things ourselves. I don’t care how much we resolve to do them; we simply can’t. But we have one who lives in us who can — “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself up for me” (Galatians 2:20). Christ LIVES in me and the life I now live in the flesh I live by FAITH IN HIM. Christ’s love enables me to love; Christ’s compassion allows me to be compassionate. I was crucified with Him. There is no room for conceit, pride, haughtiness, and defensiveness. Look at Jesus. Look at how He handled those who treated Him so harshly.
Read these words about the Lord Jesus — “He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in His mouth. When He was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting Himself to Him who judges justly. He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed” (I Peter 2:22-24)
This entire chapter of Romans is dealing with those who have been transformed — “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind” (v. 2). What does a renewed mind look like? It looks like the mind of Christ (Philippians 2:5). We have to yield our minds to His mind. We have to think like Jesus thinks. We have to yield to His presence and His power in our lives. Only then can we begin to put into practice these exhortations.
Lord Jesus, first I want to confess my sins of conceit, haughtiness, pride, and selfishness. I confess that I do not act loving toward certain people who irritate me and who speak unkind things about me. Forgive me. I know I have been crucified with you. You alone make my forgiveness possible. Give me Your mind today. Let me remember that You live in me. Let me yield myself to your presence and power. Enable me to be at peace with all. Give me the power to love the irregular people in my life with Your love.
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