Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Verse 12 – 13 (NIV)
Romans 12 is often cited for the teaching on the spiritual gifts and rightly so. However, if you take the time to read these verses in the larger context of what Paul is trying to say, you see an emphasis that is just a bit different.
Paul is describing a healthy, vibrant, and active church. People who are working together in concert with one another for a singular cause – the cause of Christ. The description is of a church that is not bogged down by disputes or petty differences. This is a church where people understand their gifting by the Holy Spirit and are using those gifts to act as a singular unit with purpose and with overflowing hope.
However, Paul’s message in the following verses are about how we live out our Christian lives. Paul addresses our attitude and demeanour to one another in the church and to the larger community – I would say even to the world.
The church is God’s representation of Jesus to the world. To do all that Paul lays out in this portion of scripture seems almost impossible. In fact, we will only be able to live out this lifestyle with the help of the Holy Spirit. It is imperative that we know the scriptures, so we have a clear view of what is expected of us. It is equally imperative that we live in the power of the Holy Spirit. This is the only way we can have devotion for God and His word, and honour those we are called to love and serve.
Father, make us devoted to Jesus and to your Word. Help us to put the needs of others first so that Jesus’ love may be seen through us today. In Jesus name, Amen.