Belief and life should intersect and blend together so they become one. This will never happen until we surrender our lives completely to God.
In fact, surrendering our lives to God is so absolute that we are living sacrifices speaking, walking and working in this world. We become living sacrifices because we are saved by the blood of Christ Jesus.
The world, or things outside and contrary to the kingdom of God, is a powerful force. Even when the world is not actively opposing God it is exerting its influence on His people. Paul said we should not be shaped by the world, but rather “transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Renewing is present and constant as we walk daily with the Lord.
It is living in this ever-present action of renewing that Christians display who we are and the One to whom we belong. We know Christ Jesus loves us and He made it clear that we should love other believers. In fact, He commanded, “That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another” (John 13:34). This love, He said, would cause people to know we are His disciples.
Paul said we must love without “dissimulation,” or hypocrisy. Love should always be sincere. The apostle gives ways to guide us in love, and he begins with, “Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.” To love sincerely we must detest evil and cling with all our might to the good things that are spiritually uplifting to our fellow man and to ourselves.
Love, Paul said, with brotherly love. In his letter to the Galatians, he said, “let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” We have a special relationship with other believers because Jesus makes it possible.
Christians should be humble, and we ought not to be “slothful in business.” This simply means we must be quick to do that which is good. Let us never be lukewarm in our love for the Lord, and always serve with His glory in mind.
Rejoice in hope and be patient in tribulation because though the Lord does tarry, we belong to Him and He will return for us one day. Let prayers in this hope be spoken by us all day long.
In the fourteenth verse, Paul tells us how we are to love people outside the fellowship of the church, and he begins with, “Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.” This is the most difficult duty given to Christians, and we cannot do it alone. The only way we are able to be obedient is by remembering the infinite grace of our Lord.
Rejoice with and be happy for people as they celebrate accomplishments, and be sad for them when they are sad. Our interest in other people should be as strong as the interest we have for ourselves. Always be humble and ready to reach out to people who otherwise would be neglected.
It is certain we are going to be offended in this life, but Paul said, “Recompense to no man evil for evil.” Revenge is a terrible thing to harbor in our hearts, and we must never seek to return evil for evil.
Strive to get along with all people, and overcome evil with good. How can we perform this act that is not naturally within us? It is only when we know the love of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Sunday school lesson is written by Ed Wilcox, pastor of Centerville Baptist Church. He can be reached at [email protected]