Christian handbook on righteous living… written by Paul to the Christians in Rome…. as applicable to modern Christians as in their days. Read and apply.
1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. His abiding presence is God’s mercy to enable us to live a holy life. We worship not just on Sundays at church. Our worship extends to all areas of our living – even when we eat, play or work – in the smallest detail of life like teaching our children to pray or be good or being kind to our maid.
The secret lies in the mind. We are not to follow the norms of this world. The world’s standards and rules are far from God’s standards. It is a broken world of sin and evil. When we are transformed – by renewing – making new from a fresh perspective different from the world’s pattern of thoughts, we distinguish what God’s will for us. We differentiate what is good, acceptable and perfect in God’s eyes.
How are we to do this? With a humble spirit and teachable heart…
3 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.
God has blessed us each in his own ways with gifts. As a Christian, let me assess myself accurately – not too highly or too lowly – just right… let me think what gifts am I given. I am just one part of the whole body of Christ. Paul speaks of Christians representing different parts of the body – each different from the others and each has his own use and purpose.
4 For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, 5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. 6 We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; 7 ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; 8 the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness.
No gift is greater or lesser. Gift to give generously is just as important as gift of prophecy.. to be kind and merciful – to be forgiving in sincerity and cheerfulness – not grudgingly is also a gift. Paul then gave specific ways on how to live the true Christian life:
9 Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; 10 love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.
14 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; do not claim to be wiser than you are. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. 18 If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 No, “if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Bottom line: humility is the root that supports the growth of true Christian living. To be humble to forgive and be kind, not to take vengeance but to repay evil with good. To bless and not curse. To be at peace and in harmony with everyone… what is it like to have no enemy? It is not about having everyone love me but it is about me not hating anyone.