Scripture Reading: Romans 12:9-21 (click to read online)
Key Verse: “Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them.” Romans 12:9
(In preparing this devotional, I used my favorite translation of the Bible, “The New Living Translation.”)
When I was a young boy (many years ago) my favorite place to visit was my uncle’s farm. It was a real treat to stay overnight, get up early, eat a farmer’s breakfast, and then help to feed the animals.
When my mother gave me permission for the “over-nighter” her parting instruction was, “Now: behave yourself!”
In our scripture reading the missionary, Paul, is writing to the young church in the great city of Rome. They are a small group in a pagan city with many “gods.” In his letter he stresses the fact that they should “Behave Themselves” in the way that they live, talk, and act as followers of Jesus.
Let’s read what Paul says to us about our behavior when we are with our fellow Christians and also as we live and work with unbelievers.
1. “Don’t be a phony!” Let your words always be true and your love, genuine. Be a good example at church, home and in your daily work. (Romans 12:11)
2. “Be patient with folks in the church family, and those you meet at school and work.” Never hesitate to share a meal or a night’s lodging to someone who is lonely or in need. “They will never forget your generosity and may even ask “Why is he or she so generous and caring?” (Romans 12:12 &13)
3. “When people laugh at you for the things you believe about Jesus, don’t get upset.” Pray for them and always treat them with respect. (Romans 12: 14-16)
4. “Don’t play Tit for Tat.” Don’t throw back dirt when it is thrown at you. Be a peace maker – make the first move for reconciliation. (Romans 12: 17-20)
5. “Remember! Everyone you meet is fighting a battle. Sometimes it is obvious, sometimes hidden.” Come alongside the hurting person and offer your help. (Romans 12:21)
We hear you, Paul! With God’s help we’ll follow your advice to “Behave Ourselves.”
Prayer: Lord, may we daily repent of sin in our lives, without having someone else challenge us about our sin, and then experience the joy of your forgiveness. Help us each remember that we are God’s temple, indwelt by the Holy Spirit.