In the name of Jesus our Savior, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church welcomes you to ‘Dial-a-Devotion’, this is Vicar Tom Schlund. Our text for today is Romans 12:10-21 which reads:
10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
The life of a Christian is strange. There is no getting around it. Some people think that you can be a Christian and just live your life however you want to. Unfortunately, that is not true, there is a certain way that Christians live because of their salvation. Fortunately, Paul outlines the Christian life for us in the book of Romans.
You may know that Romans is the longest letter that Paul writes. He writes such a long letter because he hasn’t been to Rome yet and wants to make sure that he and the Christiians in Rome are on the same page about faith and life. In the first chapters he tells us how we are sinner, but how God connects us to Jesus’ death through our baptism.
In our text today we hear how we are to live now that we have been baptized. First Paul says that we should love each other with brotherly love, then we’re supposed to outdo each other in showing honor, we’re supposed to rejoice in the hope that we have while being patient during our troubles. Paul says we’re supposed to bless those who persecute us and we aren’t supposed to repay evil for evil. We are supposed to live peaceably with all people and to overcome evil with good.
Wow! That’s not how the world tells us that we are supposed to live. We’re continuously told that we’re supposed to look out for #1, ourselves. The most important thing in life is that we are happy. This means that we love, care about, and live peaceful lives with others only as long as it makes us happy.
But like I said at the beginning, the life of a Christian is strange. We live this way not because we’re trying to earn our salvation, or prove to God or those around us how good we are. No, we live this way in thanksgiving to God for what he has done for us. The forgiveness that he gives us through Jesus’ death on the cross frees us to love God and our neighbor. John tells us that "by this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Let us pray:
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for showing your love to us through your Son. Help us to live peaceable lives with others , showing your love to our friends and enemies alike. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen
My name is Tom. I'm fascinated by the ways that people, ideas, current events and theology interact with each other.