9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honour one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervour, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
What an amazing series of bullet point accurate life advice.
Starting with the inner life to love one another; to devotion to our brothers and sisters in Christ; to the manner of our service to God – enthusiastic; to not giving up in difficult times; to welcoming guests and speaking blessing the list goes on as Paul gives us bullet point after bullet point of life giving practices. This is a veritable list of how to live life in Christ to achieve the summation in verse 21 – “Never let evil defeat you, but defeat evil with good.” Each and every one of these practices releases us to fulfil this last bullet point – defeat evil with good.
All too often we forget we’re in a battle between good and evil, light and dark. This battle is won in a variety of ways – in prayer, speaking truth over error, loving not accusing or condemning, and living out this list of best practices – because to live them out is to choose to walk in the opposite spirit!
If I am committed to ensure evil doesn’t win over me then I need to live out these ‘opposite spirit’ practices to combat the influences of the world in my world.
Father empower me to live as you choose me to with Romans 12:9-21 to guide my steps.
Written by Ps. Richard Botta