In September I was preaching from Ephesians chapter 4 and remarking on the significance of the passage in light of our current cultural context. One of my encouragements was that we have a plan in place to live according to God’s Word as we navigate this Fall season of 2020. I wanted to check back in on that thought here. There is plenty in Ephesians 4:22-32 that we could revisit, but recently I was reminded of a familiar passage from Romans 12. What really struck me was how simply Paul laid out marks of Christ’s disciples living out their calling.
Open up to Romans 12: 9-21 and give it a slow read, remembering that this is supposed to be our reality if we claim Jesus as our Lord. As we reflect on this exhortation, I would encourage us all to consider prayerfully the following questions:
- Is my love sincere, without hypocrisy?
- Do I hate what is evil and embrace what is good?
- Am I devoted to my fellow believers in family-like love?
- Do I outdo others in showing honor?
- Have I grown weary in doing good, losing passion for serving the Lord?
- Do I rejoice in hope, am I patient/persevering in troubles?
- Can I honestly say I’m devoted to constantly praying?
- Do I pursue (run after) showing hospitality?
- Have I cursed those who persecute me instead of blessing them?
- Have I celebrated with those who are rejoicing, and mourned deeply with those experiencing loss?
- Are we living in harmony, having the same mindset?
- Can it be said that we are haughty, unwilling to associate with the humble?
- Are we responding to evil with evil, or are we doing all we can to be at peace with everyone?
- Do we take revenge? Have we fed our hungry enemy recently?
I know that is a long and potentially daunting list. Some days it may even seem unobtainable! But just what standard are we aiming for as Christ followers? There are popular standards in our culture we could adopt, even some claiming to be Christian. If it doesn’t look like God’s Word then we’re embracing a worldly standard, even if we feel it is “good enough.” Let us recalibrate our lives to the Biblical standard and allow it to correct us when we stray this Fall season. This is all possible because of God’s gracious gift of Christ Jesus and the Holy Spirit at work within us!