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God made each of us and has a glorious plan for our lives, but we won’t accomplish his will if we’re comparing and envying each other.

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Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 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.” 20 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.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.  – Romans 12:9-21

What an astounding compendium of Christian conduct. Paul writes describing transformed lives living in community. It’s breathtaking – so noble, so lofty, and so seemingly unattainable. It calls us out on behaviors that come so easily but are so harmful. They’re opposite of our natural inclinations. Blessing our persecutors and empathizing with suffering, blast us with indignation. Typically, we don’t feel good will toward someone who’s hurt us or happy when someone gets the good stuff. It’s unfair. We don’t want to be sad when someone else is sad. We have enough of our own unhappiness and unfortunate circumstances without theirs. This passage is asking a lot.

Paul challenges us personally and corporately with this list. The goal is not to live like others but to live like Christ. So, we keep our minds on Christ and not on the worldly things to let God transform how we think. Living like Christ in a community of faith shows the world there is a caring God and the church is real. When everyone in the community of faith lives like Christ, Christ is the one being lifted up for all to see. But, there’s no comparison here. God made each of us and has a glorious plan for our lives, but we won’t accomplish his will if we’re comparing and envying each other. We live for Christ and please him. It’s the whole body of Christ celebrating the power of the resurrection, living transformed lives that the world needs, to make our loving God known.

It takes an amazing humble person, filled with Jesus rather than himself, to live out what Paul suggests. It takes a selfless person willing to sacrifice for the cause of Christ to show the world God’s love and care. Now, you can show you care personally about the body of Christ. You can express your gratefulness to other believers and explore possibilities for caring for others. When you take a step toward caring for the body, you’ll share in their joy as well. You’ll begin to rejoice with other believers who are rejoicing. You’ll be blessed by blessing others. So, make a point to worship God with others this week by rejoicing in community as Christ leads.[/vc_column_text][us_separator height=”25px” size=”custom”][vc_column_text]

By Donna Burns

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