Week 18 - 19

Week 18-19 – Romans 12:11-16:  Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.
Building off verses 9 & 10, Paul will show us what actionable steps are to be taken out of love. In essence, love should move you. Not just in the sense that you have butterflies or a sort of nervous excitement. Love should move you to take an actionable step in expressing that love. The love of God is meant to make its mark on the world, especially through the sinners that are transformed by His love. Therefore, we are described as those who do things, in relation to God and fellow man, because we love and have been loved. For instance, it is helpful to list all the verbs in this passage: be fervent, serve, rejoice (2x), be patient, be constant, contribute, seek to be hospitable, bless, weep, live, associate. This is a very informative and helpful list. We can memorize this passage and test our hearts and life to see if these things are present. If so, praise God! Rivers of living water are flowing from us to others or into us to change our mindset and worldview. If not, repent. There is something causing us to lose sight of Jesus, who lived perfect in His love for God and for others. Remove whatever sin or misperception is causing you to look somewhere other than to Him.

Also, notice the beauty of a life that could be described as doing these things. It is the life of Jesus. Read the Gospels. Seriously, read them often. I recently heard a pastor describe his method of Bible reading. He will divide each gospel in thirds and read a third every day. This means you read that Gospel twice every week and between 8-10 times every month. Your familiarity with the life of Jesus will increase, meaning that your ability to meditate on His life will increase. You are bound to be conformed into His image if that is the image you are looking at.

Now, how did I arrive at the conclusion that this list in verses 11-16 should point us to read the Gospels often? Start with the fact that we know Jesus as Lord, the only begotten Son of the Father, perfectly acceptable in His sight, the second Adam who makes many righteous, the one whose image we are being conformed to. What do we see when we look at that image? To answer that you must read the Gospels. Now back to this list. Is Jesus fervent in Spirit as He serves the Father? Does He rejoice in the glory that is promised Him and those He saves? Is He patient as He endures hardship and persecution? How often does He pray? Does He meet the needs of the people? How has He promised to prepare a place for us? What does He command us to do and model Himself when it comes to those who are persecuting us? Does He attend wedding celebrations and Jewish feasts? Does He weep with Mary and Martha over the death of Lazarus? Who does Jesus associate with? Look at His life and then find Paul is bidding us to come and follow Jesus in love, His love.

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who 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 for me. (Galatians 2:20)

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. (1 John 4:7)

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