We have been taking a walk through my life chapter, Romans 12, and finding the basic’s of living a life everyday with Jesus as the focus. Today’s topic is not any different.
I remember back when I was in the 6th grade, we lived in Edison, New Jersey and I walked to Washington Elementary School daily. One day my younger brother was surrounded by four boys. Totally out of character, I stood up to those boys and told them to leave my brother alone. They fled but promised they were coming to my home to finish what they started. I came to myself and realized what I had done. Fear had set so we ran home, and I would not walk one step out of my house.
I told my father about the events of that day. He went and got one of our baseball bats and handed it to me. I will never forget as he walked me to the front porch and told me, “This is want we call an equalizer and when you see them coming I want to run in their direction, swinging the bat and yelling from the top of my lungs”. The boys showed up riding their bikes and so I tore out across the front yard and into the park running after those four boys. Thankfully, my father knew I could not catch them.
1 Samuel 24: 10-11 ESV
This day you have seen with your own eyes how the LORD delivered you into my hands in the cave. Some urged me to kill you, but I spared you; I said, ‘I will not lay my hand on my lord, because he is the LORD’s anointed.’ See, my father, look at this piece of your robe in my hand! I cut off the corner of your robe but did not kill you. See that there is nothing in my hand to indicate that I am guilty of wrongdoing or rebellion. I have not wronged you, but you are hunting me down to take my life.
In my personal story, I learned what it meant to trust the words of my earthly father with the assurance that he was standing on the porch watching. My father understood that those boys were not my issue, but the fear that had gripped me. My earthly father gave me what I needed to raise my courage. The odds were totally against me with four to one. The lesson I learned that day had nothing to do with four boys but everything to do with trusting my father. He became a picture that day of how my Heavenly Father protects me from the evil that rises inside of me, the feeling of being all alone to fight my own battles.
In 1 Samuel 24, David was told in his younger years that he would be the next King of Israel. King Saul was full of envy toward David. David had nothing but respect for the King. David finds himself in the perfect situation. The King was all alone and David had his band of warriors in the cave (read the full chapter for this complete story). David listened to his Heavenly Father instead of his military men and did not utilize the opportunity to murder the King. David taught his band of warriors that our Heavenly Father does not look at situations with the same focus as we do. Those four boys were teaching me to lay aside my fear and trust my earthly father. King Saul was teaching David to lay aside his impatience and trust the plan of His Heavenly Father.
Romans 12: 9-17 ESV
Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.
I heard a quote the other day from Tauren Wells, “Love looks like listening.” Paul says it this way, “Let love be genuine.” I find that often genuine and authentic are interchangeable. Here is another quote that comes from C.S. Lewis, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself it’s thinking of yourself less”. You may be wondering what the two previous stories have to do with the remaining chapter of Romans 12. Paul, through the leading of The Holy Spirit, is requesting that we behave counter to our culture and our natural reaction. Look back over the passage above, maybe even list each directive, how do we walk within this lifestyle with a genuine and/or authentic love for others?
Romans 12: 18-21 ESV
If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
When we accept Christ salvation into our life, we ask God to allow the Holy Spirit to lead us closer to Jesus. With that confession we have asked the Creator of all things to care for us. If you are willing to look, we can find our Heavenly Father standing there ready to fight our battles. The thing to remember is that our Heavenly Father will fight differently than we wish he would.
Luke 9: 51-56
When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. And he sent messengers ahead of him, who went and entered a village of the Samaritans, to make preparations for him. But the people did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. And when his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to tell fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” But he turned and rebuked them.
James and John wanted to bring vengeance to those who would not allow Jesus to travel through there town. Jesus fights our battle’s but not on the level James and John request. Let’s take a look at how He overcame the evil of Sin in the World. He was born a baby, lived as a carpenter’s son, started a ministry that appealed to the hurting and broken, and then died to free us from the feeling of being all alone, needing to fight our own battles.
The last line in Romans 12, “Do not be overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good.” I want you to think of all the good you have within yourself, compare that now to the good that Jesus is. If Jesus is the King of our life, We have nothing to fear, so trust God!