This past week, I neglected my daily Bible reading. I deferred, instead, to read fantasy novels by Bryan Davis and Ted Dekker. It seemed like an easy trade: boring Bible chapters I had already read, or the mind-stimulating books of these two writers. But I learned that I cave into sin much faster when I shun God's Word. I quickly learned this lesson when a bad attitude and the temptation to lust entered my heart, once again. Of course, without reading God's letters to me, I failed to remember or care about His will.
So two days ago, I decided I should read my Bible. I flipped to Romans 12, a new favorite, and just read. I read the first eight verses and decided it was enough. I later returned and continued reading. I wasn't truly prepared for what would happen next. Verses 9-21 seemed to jump out of the page. It was a moment where God clearly said, "You haven't been properly motivated. Here is a mission statement to get you excited for Me again." Here is what God told me to base my life on:
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. 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."Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."
It's a lengthy passage, yes, but it's word ring with a burning truth. Everything about this passage says to no longer conform with the world, but fall in love with Jesus and fight for Him. To me, this passage informs how to love, how to work, how to respond to enemies, how to act behind closed doors, what attitude to have, how to respond to others' emotions, what type of personal character and integrity to possess, and how to treat those around me. I'm am trying to memorize this passage and burn it into my memory. This mission statement, whether at work, school, church, or elsewhere, describes what and who Jesus wants us to be.