by Carolyn Schmitt
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.
Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
I’m speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God has given me, and especially as I have responsibilities in relation to you. Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it’s important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him. Romans 12:1-3 MSG
Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.
Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.
Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down. Get along with each other; don’t be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great somebody. Romans 12:9-16 MSG
I felt that Pauls’ own relationships spoke well of what he told us to do as we relate in sincere love and deep friendship. So I thought it might be instructive and encouraging to include his greetings to the Roman Christians in Chapter 16 of The Message . As you read what he says about the men and women he greets by name, think about how you would describe your relationships with your friends. Perhaps write something about each one in a journal.
Be sure to welcome our friend Phoebe in the way of the Master, with all the generous hospitality we Christians are famous for. I heartily endorse both her and her work. She’s a key representative of the church at Cenchrea. Help her out in whatever she asks. She deserves anything you can do for her. She’s helped many a person, including me.
Say hello to Priscilla and Aquila, who have worked hand in hand with me in serving Jesus. They once put their lives on the line for me. And I’m not the only one grateful to them. All the non-Jewish gatherings of believers also owe them plenty, to say nothing of the church that meets in their house.
Hello to my dear friend Epenetus. He was the very first follower of Jesus in the province of Asia.
Hello to Mary. What a worker she has turned out to be!
Hello to my cousins Andronicus and Junias. We once shared a jail cell. They were believers in Christ before I was. Both of them are outstanding leaders.
Hello to Ampliatus, my good friend in the family of God.
Hello to Urbanus, our companion in Christ’s work, and my good friend Stachys.
Hello to Apelles, a tried-and-true veteran in following Christ.
Hello to the family of Aristobulus.
Hello to my cousin Herodion.
Hello to those who belong to the Lord from the family of Narcissus.
Hello to Tryphena and Tryphosa—such diligent women in serving the Master.
Hello to Persis, a dear friend and hard worker in Christ.
Hello to Rufus—a good choice by the Master!—and his mother. She has also been a dear mother to me.
Hello to Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas, and also to all of their families.
Hello to Philologus, Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas—and all the followers of Jesus who live with them.
Holy hugs all around! All the churches of Christ send their warmest greetings!
And here are some more greetings from our end. Timothy, my partner in this work, Lucius, and my cousins Jason and Sosipater all said to tell you hello.
I, Tertius, who wrote this letter at Paul’s dictation, send you my personal greetings.
Gaius, who is host here to both me and the whole church, wants to be remembered to you.
Erastus, the city treasurer, and our good friend Quartus send their greetings.
Romans 16:1-23 MSG
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