Thursday, May 5, 2016, 7:21 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song, “I Just Keep Trusting My Lord.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Romans 12:9-21 (ESV).
Patient in Tribulation (vv. 9-13)
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.
Genuine Love – The word “love” here refers to agape love, which is divine love, and which centers around what God prefers, not what humans favor. We read about such love in 1 Corinthians 13 where it teaches us that love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered. It does not delight in evil, but it rejoices in the truth, etc. Jesus exemplified this kind of love. He did not flatter. He did not deceive. He always told the truth. He cared more about what would benefit others than he did about what they wanted. He is always looking out for what is for our ultimate good, not what will bring us the most comfort. This kind of love is not based in human emotion or in the one receiving the love, but it is based in God’s love for humankind as lived out through the lives of his followers, as we treat others as Jesus treats us.
Evil and Good – Going along with agape love, which centers around what God prefers, if we truly love others with God’s love we will be people who will hate evil. We will not be those who embrace it, take pleasure in it, and who are easily entertained by it on a daily basis. We will feel what God feels, and be passionate about what he is passionate about it. What grieves his spirit will grieve our spirits, too. We will not lie to one another or cheat on our spouses, or on our employers, etc. We will be honest and faithful in all that we do, and we will set our faces like flint against all temptation to participate in anything that is evil. And, we will hold fast to what is good – good according to God, not by human standards, i.e. to what is decent, respectable, moral, wholesome and upright. These are what we will adhere to, not to the junk (moral filth) that so many professing Christians embrace regularly.
Brotherly Affection – We are also to love one another with a friendship type love which shows affection (properly) toward one another. This kind of love engages our emotions, and it is supportive and encouraging. It weeps with those who weep, and it rejoices with those who rejoice. It stands with our brothers and sisters in Christ who are going through difficult times. It shows compassion toward those who are hurting, as well as it helps those who are in need. It does its neighbor no harm, but only what is good. It looks out not only for its own interests, but also for what is in the best interest of others. It is kind, generous, thoughtful, and merciful, forgiving seventy times seven and much more. And, it never gives up hope, but always trusts God in every situation, and believes in miracles in people’s lives.
Serving the Lord – Sometimes, when people have been Christians for a long time, they can lose their zeal for the Lord and can become complacent and apathetic about their relationships with Jesus Christ. I think this is probably more prevalent in affluent societies where people are well off and not in serious want of anything, and so they end up taking God for granted and even their own lives for granted, and so they become lazy in their walks of faith, and thus they give God a back seat in their lives, instead of first place. Yet, that is not how it should be. We should be on fire for our Lord, passionate about him, and excited and enthusiastic about being in his service. We should delight in following him wherever he leads us, and we should desire nothing more than to obey him always.
Joyful in Hope – This is the one that is speaking to my heart today. We are two weeks away from moving from SC to OH, and there has been a glitch – a roadblock – in the process. So, we are at a point of possibly having to make some alterations to our plans, or to our schedule (the timing of it all), so I have been in prayer, seeking God’s face concerning what direction to go next. He keeps encouraging my heart that he is completely faithful in all he does, and that I am to just trust him with the results. And, I believe he will direct our steps, and that he will show us the way in which we are to now go. So, I am resting in him in this trial, being patient in tribulation, and faithful in prayer, believing God to work it all out for our good and for the good of all others who are also impacted by this same process.
Bless our Persecutors (vv. 14-21)
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. 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.
Sometimes our difficult tribulations are the direct result of us being persecuted by those who hate us, though not always. Yet, instead of responding to persecution by retreating or retaliating, we are to bless our persecutors. So, how do we do that? Well, blessing is the opposite of cursing, for one, and to curse someone means to wish them harm or ill-will. So, if we are to bless them, then we should desire good for them, but good according to God’s standards, not by the world’s standards. We should pray for their salvation if they do not know Jesus, and we should pray for God’s good to be done in their lives. And, we should show them acts of kindness, mercy, compassion and caring about them and their needs.
We should try to live in harmony with and peaceably with others, too, as much as it depends on us. For one, we should never compromise our faith and moral standards in order to live at peace with others. We should never dilute the gospel of salvation or agree to remain silent about our testimonies for Jesus Christ in order to live at peace with others. Yet, we should try to live at peace in all areas where it does not require us to go against God and his word. We must also recognize that our attempts toward peace may be rejected, too, so even if we make the effort, that does not necessarily mean that it will reciprocated. Some people will only make peace with those who are like-minded with them, and who practice the same things which they practice and believe. We may be accused of the same, because we will not compromise our convictions, yet civility can be maintained without compromise.
In all this, we must trust ourselves to God who knows us, who knows other people, and who has a plan and a purpose for each and every one of us. We are not to become anxious, but in all things we are to commit our way unto the Lord, trusting him to work all things for good for those who love him and who are called according to his purpose. He has a reason for everything which he allows in our lives – all persecutions, trials and tribulations – so rather than resist them, we should rest in our Lord through them, and allow them and him to do their work in our lives in maturing us in Christ, and in teaching us perseverance, and in drawing us closer to our Lord in full assurance of faith. So, no matter where we are and what we are going through, God has it under his control, and he will accomplish his purposes through it. We just have to trust him, and follow his lead, and go where he takes us. And, good will come from it.
I Just Keep Trusting My Lord
John W. Peterson
I just keep trusting my Lord as I walk along,
I just keep trusting my Lord and He gives a song;
Tho’ the storm clouds darken the sky o’er the heav’nly trail,
I just keep trusting my Lord—He will never fail!