Archive for January 2015

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Romans 12: Living Life

Study 27: Be a peace-doer


v18 Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.

As part of bringing honour to God Paul now says that followers of Jesus are to do all they can to live at peace with everyone! It isn’t possible to live entirely at peace with everyone! Why do I say that? Evil and evildoers must be opposed, as must be those who are oppose Jesus – very difficult to be at total peace with everybody, particularly those who oppose the work of Jesus and the work of the Church for God’s glory!

Many people endeavour to oppose Jesus and His Church and want to block the work being done by you and I to bring honour and glory to God. And that is the key – the glory and honour of God. As much as we are cajoled to compromise our faith, we are to resist. We can resist in the power of the Holy Spirit within us – resisting temptation to capitulate to sin.

We are to refuse to inflame quarrels. We are to take the initiative towards positive peacemaking with those who are against us. But sometimes people are either uninterested or unwilling to be at peace with us! How do we overcome those people with good – particularly those who insist we compromise our faith and our morals? Ask the Holy Spirit for help and guidance! He will help in the most surprising of ways!

When peace is broken or unattainable, is that because of the other person or is it because of our own action or inaction? If you have done all you can for peace, then your conscience is therefore clear. You can leave it with God and let Him handle the situation. It is by His grace and His grace alone that the most difficult of tasks can be overcome.

Within the Church itself however, there is always to be peace between the Christians. Part of being at peace with others is encouragement and edification of others and of self. There is to be no quarrelling accusations, prejudice and judgmentalism with the church as we have seen previously in these studies. For sure, people are to be allowed their opinions – otherwise the Church will be operating as a brainwashing Cult and not a Jesus-centred, God-glorifying Church.

Go! Be a peacemaker and as far as you can, be at peace with others – inside the Church and outside it.

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Romans 12: Living Life

Study 26: Be honourable

v17 Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honourable.


As we saw in our last study, we are not to pay back evil with yet more evil. We are to retaliate against others with love to those who would wish us harm. We are to behave in such a way that we are above and beyond reproach – that is being criticized for our behaviour! That is what Paul means by honourable here. We are to refrain from doing what is evil and wrong but we are also to do what is right.


As Christians we are to act in such a way the people will ask the reason why we are so different. They will ask why you do what you do – particularly if you do the things that Paul has been talking about in this chapter! You will be seen to be living a life of honour which reflects your relationship with God. As you do this you show to others that you are a Christian – a child of God – who is in an exciting and dynamic relationship with God. People will ask why are you so different from us – giving you honour! But not only that, even if they are atheist or agnostic, they will be giving honour to God because you are His child.


Can you imagine if more people took seriously what Paul is writing here in Romans 12? The world would be turned upside down and a revolution would be in evidence! Not a revolution borne from violence but a revolution of loving God and loving others! That is what the Church is supposed to be like – harmonious communities of Christians proclaiming that they love God and showing that they do that by loving other people. Christians doing things which bring praise and honour to God and people outside the Church remarking how honourable they are! Imagine!


Can it be done? Yes! If we as Christians asked the Holy Spirit to help us as He empowers us!


Go! Live your life in such a way, that you are seen as honourable and therefore the God you claim to love is also honoured. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you – He will help if you ask!

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Romans 12: Living Life

Study 25:

v17 Never pay back evil with more evil.

I wonder if you have ever been hurt by somebody else. I know that I have. I also know that not only have I been the victim, I have also been the one to inflict and hurt others. So how are we to respond to those who would wish us harm? After all, we are commanded to love those people.

Paul here commands that we don’t pay back evil for evil. That will just perpetuates a circle of evil in our life and prove to be a distraction from living a life that is honouring to God – living a life of worship and devotion to Him.

What does this mean in practise? We know we are to love our enemies. Jesus taught it and Paul also. We are to do good to everyone, including those who are against us. We are to actively bless our enemies and repay that way! WOW! That goes against our culture, which usually dictates either at best to ignore or at worst to retaliate!

Our natural reaction, if we are honest, is to retaliate against others. Either with evil against the perpetrator or by simply just ignoring them. But that is not what Paul suggests! We are to desire to win them over for the glory of God! WOW! Let us as members of His Church retaliate that way. We are to show mercy and forgiveness to those who would harm and hurt us in anyway - – physically, spiritually, emotionally or mentally. After all, God has done that to us through Jesus Christ despite all we have done against Him! If He can do it, so can we!

Remember, as Christians we have the Holy Spirit living within us! How easily we forget to ask Him to help us do things what humanly speaking seems impossible – including repaying evil with good. People maybe able to harm our bodies but they can never harm us spiritually. Sometimes those within the Church, including the Church we regularly attend, seek to harm us in some way. Let us win them over too – for the sake and glory of God! We also need to seek forgiveness of those we have done wrong as well as forgiving those who have wronged us? Again, this is possible when done using the power of the Holy Spirit.

Go! Do good to all, bless them, forgive them if necessary – including those who would seek you harm.

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Romans 12: Living Life

Study 24: Humility of mind and spirit

v16 - Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!

Here are two of the main reasons that churches lack harmony – pride and know-it-alls!! Do you think that may describe somebody that you know? Or even yourself?

There is to be no place in the Gospel, and therefore the Church itself, for pride and conceit. There is to be no favouritism within the life of the Church. Love does not show favouritism or partiality but love treats all people equally. The best person for the job, is the best person for the job – not the one shown favouritism. That isn’t to say we can’t have some people as friends and others not! But we are not to make differences between people based on things such as bank balances, social status, education, birthplace etc. Let not the educated look down upon the uneducated. Let not the financially rich not look down on the poor & homeless. Let males not look down upon females or females look down on males.

Structure within Churches is important or there would be chaos. Remember a Church is to be harmonious – and those of higher importance in Church structures are to associate & work with those of the least importance in Church structures. Why?

Because of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ, being the Son of God, made Himself nothing in order to become a human being. Jesus, the Lord of the Church, was willing to do everything possible, so that you and I may be able to become children of God. Jesus Christ, and therefore God Himself, treats equally all sections of society, and so must those who claim to follow Him.

And we all know somebody who is a know-it-all – they have an answer to every question and like to let everybody know that they do! Now it is good to be wise in the ways of God but let not that lead to pride! Such a person is hard to teach – hard even to God. Wisdom comes from studying God’s word, being willing to be changed by the Spirit who lives within all believers without distinction. The so-called uneducated are usually more willing to be wise from this method than the educated.

Go! Be practical in your love of God to all people without partiality or distinction. And don’t think you know it all – coz you don’t!

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Romans 12: Living Life

Study 23: Be Harmonious

v16 Live in harmony with each other.

I can hear you saying to yourself “Yeah right, Paul! Get a life, mate! Me? Live in harmony with that person over there? No way!”

Yet to live in harmony with each other is to be our goal says Paul. If we were loving God and loving others as we ought, in the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within ALL believers in the church community – then believers should be able live in harmony with each other!

As we have seen earlier, any group of believers in one location has spiritual gifts! No gift is more important than the other, yet I know from experience, that some Spiritual Gifts are lifted up more than others! The local church with its people is akin to a human body. Can a foot say it is more important than the brain? No! The brain controls the foot! Can the brain say it is more important then the heart? No! The heart pumps the blood which keeps the brain alive! Can the heart say it is more important than the foot? No! Because without exercise, the heart grows weak! That is what it is like in the church – local, national and worldwide!

To live in harmony is to live in agreement with each other! We are united with other Christians whether want to be or not! We all have the one Spirit living within us. There was only one Cross, therefore there can only be one Kingdom and church. There is only one God, therefore there could only be one people and one church known by its unity. Jesus Christ is the one Great Shepherd and there is only one flock, when referring to Himself and his followers the church (John 10:16).

Unity however does not mean uniformity. With the proviso that core beliefs are maintained, there appears to be room for some digression regarding secondary beliefs (Paul alludes to that in Romans 14:1–15:13). Individual churches have different local needs to be faced, and have therefore dissimilar requirements. Tomorrow we will see one of the main reasons churches don’t have harmony! But for now, go! Do all you can to be harmonious with others and show Church unity to the world!

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Romans 12: Living Life

Study 22: Rejoice and sorrow

v15 Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.

I wonder if some times you are like me –you are sad when people you know have reason to be happy! We are like that as people! Jesus in Luke 15:25-30 indicates that this behaviour comes from envy! Or you are happy when people have reason to be sad or in trouble – your attitude is “They deserve it!” This is nothing short of malice. And unsurprisingly, it can come quite naturally to us! Paul here challenges the Roman readers and by proxy, us, with something totally alien to our natural way of behaving! Paul goes “be happy to the happy and weep with the weeping!”

That is a counter to the way the world we live in operates. Sure some people who are not Christian may do it Paul’s way but in general they don’t. But that is not the way it is to be with the Church! We are to love others as we would want to be loved. Love is not detached or ignorant of other people’s joys and sorrows. Love does not simply ignore or bear malice. Love lifts, encourages, embraces and emboldens! Love in action is offering a shoulder to cry on to somebody in need of help. Love in action is rejoicing with that brother or sister who has cause for celebration. Love offers solidarity with the other person, regardless of mood or emotion.

So how can we show this love to others? We maybe able to do it in our own strength, but we assuredly can by using the power of the Holy Spirit! Oh how easily we forget He is living within us! WOW! If we ask for His help, He will help – often in the most amazing ways. Let the Holy Spirit stimulate your imagination as to how you can practically rejoice and be happy with those who are rejoicing or to show you how you can weep with those who are weeping and in sorrow. And if we have reason to rejoice, let us not forget to be so overcome that we neglect to weep with those who are weeping. Or conversely, if we have good reason to be weeping, let us now forget to somehow rejoice with that brother or sister who has reason to be happy!

Go! Let your love for others be practically seen – whether with smiles or with tears!

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