When the Lord brings you to study His Word, you can bet if it’s not something that speaks hard to you on that day, it’s there for when He needs to remind you. It’s what he’s done for me today, where two verses kind of screamed out to me this morning, both belonging in the same chapter. “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud; instead, associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own estimation.” (Rom 12:16) We already discussed this one on March 31 here. And the second is two verses later: “If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone”, which we’ve previously discussed here.
Words have been said that felt like a dagger. Now what I felt like doing was making a comment, turning around and walking away. That would have had me angry, but feeling righteously indignant. Which brings me to the first verse that tells me not to think myself better and smarter than I am, but to instead humble the pride that would feed righteous indignation, and seek to live in harmony.
The verse between these two continues that thought: “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Give careful thought to do what is honorable in everyone’s eyes.” (v 17) I’m not to seek to do or say something that will make me feel better, but instead think about how the other person will take what I say or do. I need to ask if with my words and behavior if others are able to see Jesus in me, and then wait quietly to hear a response from the Lord. “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Rom 15:5-6)
To bicker with others isn’t using my ability to live at peace with others. Now, truthfully, on my own I don’t have that ability, but when I put on Christ who is making me more like Him daily (and boy does He have a job!) I can. “Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.” (Rom 13:13-14)
At this moment, I have no idea how to handle a specific situation. What I do know is that the Lord is speaking to me showing me how He desires me to behave and speak. I may have to be quiet for a spell, or I may be able to ease into it. Either way, He is in charge, working on me, and I’m putting this at His feet for Him to show me the way. “Finally, all of you be like-minded and sympathetic, love one another, and be compassionate and humble, not paying back evil for evil or insult for insult but, on the contrary, giving a blessing, since you were called for this, so that you may inherit a blessing.” (1 Pet 3:8-9)