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CHARACTERISTICS OF A BELIEVER

From The Heart

Publish date: 06/09/2002

Romans 12:1-21

1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. 3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. 4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. 9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. 10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. 17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord. 20 Therefore "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head."  21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. NKJV

As Christians, we have a code of conduct to follow. God expects a certain standard of behavior from us that is different from the way we conducted ourselves when we were in the world. This passage in God’s Word gives us some practical guidelines that we need to follow concerning our Christian conduct.

Verse 6 says that we all have gifts that differ according to the grace that is given to us. Grace is God’s ability given to us – not indiscriminately – but according to His divine purpose and plan. Verse 8 says that the person who gives should give with simplicity and singleness (without strings attached and without an ulterior motive). We should give with sincerity (without dissimulation or self-seeking). Dissimulation is deception, dishonesty or pretense.  Self-seeking means that a person only gives in order to benefit themselves and not others. The Lord wants us to give in order that we would be a blessing to someone else. When we give it should be generously, liberally and bountifully.

Verse 10 says that we should be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love and that we should honor and give preference to one another.

Verse 11 says that we should not be slothful in business. We should be fervent in spirit - never lagging in zeal and earnest endeavor. We must be diligent as we serve the Lord - everything we do for Him should be done well and to the best of our ability. Verse 16 says that we should be of the same mind toward one another. We should not set our minds on high things, but we should condescend to men of low estate – we should associate with the humble. We must treat everyone the same way – not looking down on any person as being beneath us. We must not be haughty, snobbish, high-minded or exclusive, but we should readily adjust ourselves to people and things and be prepared to give ourselves to humble tasks. We should never overestimate ourselves or be wise in our own opinion.

Verse 20 says that if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in doing this, you will heap coals of fire on his head.  This verse is not referring to your hungry and thirsty friend, but your hungry and thirsty enemy! In the flesh, we want to fight back against our enemy, but God has a better way. He says that when you fight back, you will be overcome by evil, but when you respond with love and kindness, then you overcome evil with good. We should hate that which is evil; be patient in tribulation; bless those who persecute us and not curse them; avenge not ourselves; repay no one evil for evil; overcome evil with good; and live at peace with all men.

God does not tell us to do these things to torment us, but to bring us into a place of blessing and victory. God’s Word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path - let us take God’s Word and apply it in our daily lives.

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