Friday, May 22. Romans 12:9-21.
This is the last devo that I will write for the 2014-2015 ministry season. I like to take the summer off to regroup, pursue different writing projects, and let the devo field lay fallow for a season. If these devos have been helpful to you, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
This is a perfect passage with which to end. Paul describes the entire purpose and power for life together: love. The love of God is not sentimental feeling. It is hard work that requires putting the needs of others above your own. It requires loving our enemies and doing good to them.
There are two key concepts that I would like to highlight from this passage and leave with you for the summer.
- Harmony. In verse 16, Paul says, “live in harmony with one another.” Harmony is very different from unison. When many voices sing in unison, they all sing exactly the same note and try to make their voices indistinguishable from one another. Harmony is the combination of multiple voices, all singing different notes in the same key. That is a picture of the body of Christ. We are all different and should never try to deny our uniqueness. What we should do is bring our uniqueness into the key of God’s love, so that our lives make beautiful music together.
- No Vengeance. The way of Jesus is non-violent resistance to hatred and violence. He allowed his enemies to destroy him and, in the process, he loved and forgave them. This is probably the most terrifying part of being a Christian. Yet, it is the only way to the peace of God. Every part of our human nature screams that we should return violence with violence in order to protect ourselves. We can even convince ourselves that military strength brings peace. That was true for the Roman Empire. They brought peace on earth, but it came through fear and intimidation. God’s dream for this world is that ALL nations would be blessed and would live in harmony with one another. This can only happen when we all lay down our need for vengeance and seek the good of ALL people.
My prayer for you this summer is that you will grow deeper into the love of God. That you would find your voice as you hear God’s voice calling you, and that you would use your voice to be part of God’s harmonious love for all people, through Jesus, and in the power of the Holy Spirit.