I spoke to some college students yesterday morning, and during the presentation, I offered a scenario like this:
Imagine you’re a customer service representative for a reliable mobile service provider. While working, a customer calls, yelling at you because his bill was $40 more than normal. His bill was $40 more than normal because he used 100 minutes over his alloted amount.
I asked them how they’d respond to this scenario, and needless to say, their responses weren’t diplomatic. 🙂 Their responses ranged from yelling back at the man to hanging up the phone.
I’ve discovered that most people don’t handle evil too well. Most of the time, our initial response is retaliation; we want to fix the problem and the person causing it. 🙂 But again, Paul issues a challenging statement: “Never pay back evil with more evil.” In other words, no matter how silencing or tempting our response, we must hold our peace. Simply stated, retaliation is not an option for Christians.
Avoiding retaliation is absolutely Christian; you cannot turn the other cheek unless CHRIST lives in you! Then again, a peaceful response to evil exemplifies the love of CHRIST. When we were GOD’S enemies (sinners), CHRIST didn’t give us what we deserved. Instead, HE gave us the love we needed.
CHRIST didn’t retaliate, and neither should you. Be blessed!
Remember the story of Job? If not, then here’s a quick summary. Job was a righteous man who quickly digressed from riches to rags. For 9 months, Job endured persistent peril, all for the glory of GOD. That’s right; GOD used Job to show the devil who the boss really was.
Now, imagine you’re Job, and GOD also gave you the verse featured above as a homework assignment. We covet instant deliverance, so most of us wouldn’t accept this assignment with joy. But Paul issues yet another challenge in today’s recharge: rejoice, be patient, and keep on praying, even during difficult times. In other words, act like you trust GOD! If you can rejoice in trials, patiently endure them, and pray through them, then it’s a sign that you trust GOD for a favorable outcome.
Honestly, you have every reason to trust GOD during difficult seasons. No wonder Paul also said, “For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!” (2 Corinthians 4:17, New Living Translation). If GOD has HIS hands in it, then it’s guaranteed to end triumphantly.
Act like you trust HIM, even when it’s hard!
I’ve enjoyed watching the presidential debates. It’s interesting to hear the candidates’ plans for making the United States a better place to live. I’m particularly attentive during the post-debate interactions, as the candidates greet the studio audience. They seem so concerned about these people, but this morning, I wondered if their gestures are sincere. Are McCain and Obama really happy to talk to these people, or are they simply securing votes?
I also couldn’t help bringing that question a little closer to home. Am I guilty of insincere motives? When I ask someone, “How was your day?”, do I really want to know, or am I just small talking? Imagine how challenged I felt when I read the verse featured today: “Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them …” (Romans 12:9a, New Living Translation). Paul reminds us that our love should be genuine, at all times, and toward all people.
When we show genuine love, we model the professor of love – JESUS CHRIST. Earlier in Romans, Paul reminds us that “… God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners” (Romans 5:8, New Living Translation). Since HE loved us when we were unlovable, the least we can do is love each other, genuinely.
Love like CHRIST!
I love children. Something about their presence reminds me that life isn’t so bad after all. I particularly enjoy children when they plan “copy cat.” It’s neat watching them observe your every move and try to repeat it with their own little twist. You’re usually in a for a good laugh when children try to imitate you.
But what’s humorous, and appropriate, for children can end disastrously for Christians, especially when we copy the practices and principles of the world. The world can dress up sin and make it seem pleasurable, but the pay check for sin is destruction. No wonder Paul says, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world …” Instead of being hateful, jealous, impatient, or unfaithful, we should be loving, joyful, peaceful, and faithful. How? Put your mind in GOD’S hands, and let HIM transform you into a masterpiece: “… but let GOD transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.”
This recharge is a challenge – let GOD transform your mind. Identify your behaviors that resemble the world, and let GOD steer you in the right direction. And, if you let GOD take the wheel, the HE’LL transform you: “… anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun” (2 Corinthians 5:17, New Living Translation).
Let GOD transform you!
Volunteerism is one of our society’s expressions of selflessness, and its especially prevalent during the election season. Countless people offer their energy and time to advance political agendas and awareness. Whether it’s distributing voter registration documents, posting campaign advertisements in their yards, or passing out “I voted” stickers, people rush to fulfill their civic duties.
Though the volunteer line for political involvement is abundant, the volunteer line for serving GOD is slim. As CHRIST’S return approaches, people seem less likely or willing to work for GOD. Paul, however, reminds us that working for GOD should be at the top of our volunteer opportunities list. Notice what he says, “… give your bodies to GOD …”; that is, offer it willingly, without coercion. Then, he gives us a great incentive to do so: “… because of all he has done for you.” CHRIST willingly gave HIS life for us; therefore, it is our reasonable duty to give ours back to HIM.
This recharge is a call to action: volunteer for GOD! Like the colt in Matthew 21:2, the LORD has an assignment for you. Will you answer the call?
Volunteer for GOD. The rewards are eternal!