Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 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. 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. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:9-21)
Sixteen Candles Of Faith
The Holy Spirit often puts simple ideas in holy writ to simplify the principles of obedience, faith and trust in the word of God. Growing in faith is a daily program of learning to mold the character of the heart to the will of the Lord. On occasion the Spirit places within passages a brief outline of building blocks to form the life of the Father’s children and Romans 12 is no exception. Beautifully designed in the 12th chapter are sixteen powerful bullets of truth that when put into practice in the heart of God’s people, will transform the heart, soul and mind. These are not complex ideals that require a great deal of study. In many ways these are common sense values to build a character of honesty, kindness, truth, nobility and love. Take a moment and consider these points of light that will increase the faith of any child of God.
- Love needs to be pure and without the hypocrisy of a mixed heart. Loving others is without pretense of insincerity. Let love be the open truth of a pure heart.
- There is a simple declaration of abhorring things that are evil. Those things that are unrighteous are to be loathed, detested, hated and disliked. The wise man reminds us that no man can play with fire and not be burned. Instead of indulging in wickedness embrace all things that are righteous. A good rule of life is to cling to good things according to the will of the Lord.
- Loving others leads to unity and harmony. Brotherly affection is the regard we have for those who share the same Father in heaven. Love will seek the best in our relationship with those in the body of Christ.
- One of the ways we show our love for one another is to give honor to others. A foundational principle of the Christian life is to consider others better than self; seeking their welfare above our own. Giving preference to the other follows the example of Jesus Christ. This would solve all the problems experienced in the family of God if brethren would think more of others before self.
- Serving the Lord needs the zeal of a fervent spirit. Not lagging in the diligent effort of building up the family of God, a Christian will have a spirit that is eager to help others, encourage the downtrodden and share the good news of Jesus with the lost. Serving the Lord is not something we do on Sunday but every day when we live in the community, work in the business world and enjoy the recreations of the world. Others will see how much we love the Lord by the manner we serve the Lord with passion.
- Hope, trials and prayer go hand in hand. Each one is dependent upon the other and serves to modify the character of the other. Difficulties will come in life but when the Christian has a heart of hope there will rejoicing. Patient in tribulation is an understanding heart that knows all trials are temporary. Strength to gain hope in the face of tribulations comes from the joy of prayer seeking the petition of the Father. Steadfast prayer life infuses the heart with the sunlight of expectation that looks beyond the trials and sufferings of this present age.
- Adding these virtues to the life of the child of God will make them keenly aware of helping others such as contributing to the needs of the saints. Growing in faith is sharing what we have with the needy and showing hospitality through deeds of kindness.
- People of God will face the persecution of the world that lives in darkness. The world lives by the code of revenge but those who are Christ’s bless those who maltreat the righteous. Evil words are not returned in hate but words of kindness and generosity. Christian’s do not curse – period – in any form against others.
- Sharing in the joys and sorrows of life is a special bond expressed in the family of God. When there are times of happiness all rejoice and when sadness invades the heart others are there to comfort, console and exhort. Love comes from time spent in moments of joy and hours of sorrow. This is a special bond in Christ.
- Living in harmony with one another takes a willing heart to be united with others regardless of the differences in ethnicity, gender, education and economics. The body of Christ is made up of individuals who bring different talents, abilities and wisdom to the table. God wants His children to be in accord with one another.
- A foundational ingredient of being unified with others is to shed the appearance of a haughty and self-exalting pride. Setting the mind on high things exalts only the man he sees in his own image but God sees a small man. Jesus was a man of lowly character and following His character of humility will lead one to the Father.
- True wisdom comes from above. The failings of man have always come from a spirit of self-righteousness to regard his own knowledge greater than others and the Lord. There is one truth and that truth comes from the will of the Lord.
- There is a lot of evil in the world and it would not benefit the soul to increase the volume of evil by bringing evil upon others in revenge. God does not approve of His children being wrathful people. His will is to show a character of honor in the sight of all men so they can see the glory of Christ living in their lives. Jesus did not repay the evil done to Him.
- The greatest work a man can do is to be an example of holiness in his life and live before all men as peaceably as possible. Children of God are not known as law-breakers, rioters, discontented, slandering opponents of the affairs of life. Peter reminded the Jewish leaders people of God obey every law unless is disregards the law of God. This will make them live in peace will all men even when persecuted.
- Vengeance is only found in one place in this world. It does not come from the wisdom of man or the principles of a single theology. The Christian does not become the agency of vengeance on others because of what may be happening to them. The wrath of God belongs to the Lord God alone and whatever measures of repayment must be meted out will be done by the Creator and not man. Enemies are not to be mistreated. If they are hungry the child of God feeds them. When he is thirsty the Christian offers them drink. This shows the glory of God as His own mercy has been shown to all men by giving His Son. The measure of righteousness is given by the hand of the Lord alone.
- Finally the child of God should not allow the evil nature of sin to overcome them. The previous exhortations in this brief list show the goodness of God’s children setting examples of faith, courage and love to all men. Truth is older than error and will always be able to overcome evil. The life of a Christian will be changed when he or she emulates these beautiful characters of God’s grace in their lives and they will change the lives of others.