Loving Promise, Wrestling Challenge.
Our word today from the word of God comes to us from Romans! I'm excited. How about you?
It took a while to convince myself to be excited for this verse, but I did arrive at a place of rest in the matter. After reading it for yourself, you may quickly embrace the text or wrestle with it as I did.
This verse comprises ten words, three phrases, and three punctuation marks and is filled with promise and challenge. I like the promises a lot. I'm working on the challenge parts. Come on, really, who doesn't like joy, patience, and faithfulness? Well, the patience thing is something to like in others just not ourselves. Problem is, this verse holds us to a high standard of living and loving both God and people. Take a look.
"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. (Romans 12:9-21, NIV)
Pause today and consider your own wrestling match with Romans 12:12. Can you celebrate joy in hoping, patience in affliction, and faithfulness in prayer? If so, great! If not, then you can wrestle with these three phrases and accept the challenges in each one. God promises good things in all of it!