Romans 12:9-21 - Let 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 and 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, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 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." 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." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
The things Paul writes are not hard to understand. They are simple—so simple that a child can understand them. And yet, doing them is another matter. I have several times had a conversation with someone about a difficult problem and what I intended to do about it. After they heard me out, they looked at me indignantly, and said, "Oh, come on, now! Let's be realistic. I know that stuff is in the Bible, but we live in the real world. You can't live that way, or you'll get wiped out!"
That particular conversation had to do with how to treat my enemies who were blackening my name; my friend wanted me to start an all-out offensive against them. But if you follow Jesus, you've probably had similar conversations with people on other subjects. "If you live in this world," they say, "you've got to act like the world. Stop being a sheep."
And yet ... Jesus calls us to be His sheep, doesn't He? Sheep with the smarts of a snake, yes, but just as harmless to others as big woolly things are supposed to be. Sheep that resemble their Shepherd and trust Him to take care of them—even in the most difficult times of their lives.
It's only safe to be a sheep if you have a shepherd—a Shepherd like Jesus, who loves us and has all power to save us. He is not naïve or foolish; He understands evil better than it understands itself. He defeated it through His own suffering and death, breaking the power of the devil. Now everyone who trusts in Him can live safely under His care—live as citizens of the kingdom of God, harming no one—not even their enemies.
My friends who argued with me only wanted the best for me. But I've seen by experience that the best is trusting Jesus and doing what He says, even when it makes no worldly sense. Have you tested and seen that yourself?
WE PRAY: Lord, when I am tempted to follow earthly wisdom, help me to follow You instead. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
1. Are there things Jesus says that make no earthly sense in your eyes or in the eyes of your friends?
2. If so, which things specifically?
3. Have you tried trusting Him and doing those things? If so, what happened?
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