Morning Musings: Romans 12:9-21

One of the things every follower of Jesus wants at some point along the journey is a checklist of things that if we do all of these, we will be on the right track in our Christian walk.  Well, here in Romans 12:9-21, Paul offers us about as close to this kind of a list as we will find anywhere in the Scriptures.  This isn’t a list that gets a lot of attention, and it certainly isn’t exhaustive, but it does cover an awful lot of ground.  So here’s my encouragement: Print this list.  Make it a checklist. 

No, getting all the boxes checked here isn’t going to put God in your debt.  No, it’s not a substitute for genuine faith and radical obedience.  No, it’s not even going to guarantee that you won’t face some challenges tomorrow.  But, if you were to make these your intentional aim and made living out of this list in your daily interactions and attitudes the mark of a successful day, you would find yourself traveling the way of Jesus with a lot more smooth forward progress than you would be otherwise.  Without further ado, here’s the list:

  • Let your love be genuine
  • Abhor what is evil
  • Hold fast to what is good
  • Love one another with brotherly affection
  • Outdo one another in showing honor
  • Do not be slothful in zeal
  • Be fervent in spirit
  • Serve the Lord
  • Rejoice in hope
  • Be patient in tribulation
  • Be constant in prayer
  • Contribute to the needs of the saints
  • Seek to show hospitality
  • Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them
  • Rejoice with those who rejoice
  • Weep with those who weep
  • Live in harmony with one another
  • Do not be haughty
  • Associate with the lowly
  • Never be wise in your own sight
  • Repay no one evil for evil
  • Give thought to what is honorable in the sight of all
  • If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all
  • Never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God
  • If your enemy is hungry, feed him
  • If he is thirsty, give him something to drink
  • Do not be overcome by evil
  • Overcome evil with good

There’s one last thing: If that list looks a bit overwhelming…that’s kind of the point.  You can’t do it apart from the abiding presence and help of Jesus through the Holy Spirit.  Keeping this list will make you more like Jesus, but it will do so because it will drive you to His side as you recognize your inability to do it all on your own.  The longer you stay at His side, the more like Him you will become.  And the list works.  If you want to get the Christian life right, this is a good step in the right direction.

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