Today’s readings.. (2 Samuel 20,21), (Jeremiah 24), (Romans 12)
Today we have that marvelous chapter in Romans (12) in which Paul lists all the good attitudes that those who claim to be believers need to have in order to show they are really committed believers. It is good to read diligently so that we correctly understand the word of God – but it is vital that, on the other side of the coin as it were, we develop a character that becomes more and more like the character of Christ.
Paul tells the believers in Rome to “be transformed by the renewal of your mind.” If our ways of thinking and therefore our character have been really affected by the values and attitudes in today’s godless world – how vital that we work hard on achieving a personal transformation and “… discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” [12 v.2]
Our daily reading of his word lays the foundation for this. “I say to everyone” writes Paul, “not to think of him(her)self more highly than he ought to think” [v.3]. He tells them, “”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 honour. Do not be slothful in zeal …” [v.9-11]
We can read through this advice too quickly and easily. In the spirit that exists in the world today – how great is the need to “hold fast” and be “patient in tribulation.” What is essential in doing this, is to “ be constant in prayer” [v.12]
What a challenge v.14 is! “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them … repay no one evil for evil … never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God.” [v.14,17,19]
The chapter concludes, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” – and an absolutely essential part of this is to “let love be genuine,” remembering the point Jesus made, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.” [Matt.5 v.44,45]