In chapters twelve and thirteen of the book of Romans, the apostle Paul gives us a long list of do’s and don’ts that paint a graphic picture of a well-managed Christian life. It would be a good idea to keep this list on your nightstand next to your bed to read every morning as you start the day. Following this prescription will place you squarely in the footsteps of Jesus.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought.
If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.
Honor one another above yourselves.
Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
Share with the Lord’s people who are in need.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.
Live in harmony with one another.
Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.
Do not be conceited.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil.
Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
Do not take revenge.
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.
Love your neighbor as yourself.
Put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.
Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.
This is probably the absolutely best summation of what it means to be a Christian. The apostle Paul has bundled everything together in a tidy package of clear instruction. It’s almost as though the eleven chapters that came before, were simply a preamble to this power-packed dissertation. It really all comes down to love. If we filter everything we do through the perspective of love for one another, we can do no wrong.
“Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” Romans 13:10 (NIV)
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