Daily Devotion: September 20th 2021

Monday September 20th

Read: Romans 12

Learn: The Book of Romans is a letter from the Apostle Paul to the Christian churches in Rome. These churches were majority Gentile, which basically means not Jewish. The reason for this is that in AD 49, the Roman emperor Claudius expelled all Jews from Rome because of unrest between traditional Jews and Christians. As a result, the Christian churches in Rome became comprised mainly of Gentiles. Over the next ten years, Jewish Christians started migrating back to Rome and joined the churches there. Paul addresses these unique bodies of believers. Gentiles, raised in Greco-Roman culture, and Jews, raised in the Jewish culture, all coming together now, united by Christ. Paul had the task of strengthening that unity, clarifying how traditional Jewish law (Mosaic Law) factored into Christianity, and how this church of so many people from different backgrounds needed to treat each other.

Paul points out in Romans 12:2 that Christ followers must not be conformed to the world, but must have a renewed mind, seeking the will of God. He encourages the churches to understand that we are all different, with unique gifts that we should collectively use for the Lord. He then goes on in the rest of the chapter to describe how Christians should be acting in their lives. Verse 17 stands out as a directive that is counter cultural to the way most people act. We are not to repay anyone evil for evil. We are not to seek revenge. You may have heard the phrase, “You can’t control what other people do, but you can control you.” We must let go of anger and bitterness toward people that wrong us. We must forgive and move forward.  It isn’t always easy, but if we don’t let go of these things, they will become like weights around our ankles, slowing us down and preventing us from living a full life in Christ. If others wrong us, we must respond with love and kindness, even amid our hurt. As Paul says at the end of this chapter, we must not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Reflect: Have you ever been so hurt by someone that you wanted to hurt them back? If you succeeded in hurting them back, did it resolve anything? Who is someone that you are bitter toward right now? Is holding onto your bitterness resolving anything? Has your bitterness become a dead weight in your life?

Pray: God, please help me to let go of bitterness. As you forgave me of my sins, give me the strength to forgive others. Give me opportunities to show your love to people, even those who mistreat me. Thank you for your grace and mercy. In Jesus name, Amen.




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