Blog In Audio:
I hope you are enjoying summer and that you are seeing the goodness of God in your life. I have been doing a lot of physical tasks, at home and at our church. I hope to get a lot more done this week. My dad always said that you have to make hay while the sun shines. It is a good season to focus on getting things done close to home and to make preparations in being ready for our increased coming together in the days ahead.
We are in a time where God is releasing the grace to become the people of God. The test is in the grace! Grace does not mean there is no resistance to the outcome. It actually is the power of God to overcome all resistance to the outcome. In a time of manifesting as the people of God there is an opportunity to be the people of the people, the people of self, the people of some created thing or the people of some other external influence in our lives. To be the people of God is to be the community of God, but there are many causes of unity. Unity apart from Christ creates unity that opposes others. As it was in the encounter of Joshua and the Lord at the entrance of the Promised Land, God is neither for us or against us – He is the Commander of the army of the Lord. It is only when we present our bodies to God that God can influence us to become expressions of His community in the earth.
Joshua 5:13 And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, “Are You for us or for our adversaries?” 14 So He said, “No, but as Commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, “What does my Lord say to His servant?” 15 Then the Commander of the Lord’s army said to Joshua, “Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy.” And Joshua did so.
I have been addressing the context of Romans chapter 12. Each of us are to present our bodies to the calling of Christ, the testimony of Christ, and the purpose of Christ to become the corporate expression of the community of Christ. We cannot think like the world. This doesn’t mean that we seek to condemn the world for thinking as they do, it means we demonstrate to the world what it looks like to be the people of God. We are to demonstrate what is good, acceptable, and perfect in Christ. We each do this in the uniqueness of each and everyone. We are all motivated differently, but we must all express the attributes of being the people of God in the character of our own uniqueness. The attributes of being the people of God are all giving attributes. They are never taking, but expressions of life for the wellbeing of others.
Romans 12:9 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.
Our first priority is to live for God and to live for the community of God in all things. We are to love the world, but we are to live for God and His community. When we do this, we will face opposition and we will even experience suffering at times. When we experience the opposition of the world we are never to oppose the world. We are to be life for and as the testimony of Christ to the world. We live for Jesus our head, for one another as His body, and corporately together as the body of Christ in this world.
Romans 12:14 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.
Our attitude at all times is an attitude of being life givers to our world. The world is strong in opinions, but we must be strong in mercy and grace. We must be strong in the life of God in all things. If circumstances can change who we are, we are not truly living to be who we are meant to be. We are the people of God!
Romans 12:17 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.
To heap coals of fire on the head of your enemy is not to destroy them. It is to destroy what is destroying them. The custom of the culture was to transport coals in pots on one’s head in order to have light, heat, and cook your food in wherever you found yourself. The idiom implies that because your enemy lacks the essentials of true life, they act as they do. It is not opposing the enemy that destroys the enemy, it is refusing to become an enemy as they are that inspires them to be released from the strongholds of their own imprisonment. Light is more powerful than darkness, life is more powerful than death, and healing is more powerful than sickness in all things. When we act as the people of God we influence the evil to be transformed from their wicked strongholds. We inspire them to know the love and life of God in the midst of their world.
Ted J. Hanson
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