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Behave Like a Christian

It is an interesting dynamic that some of the most "well known" people in our world are 'hypocrites'! No, I'm not talking about Christians (hopefully), but rather the so-called stars of stage and screen, 'Actors'. The word hypocrite comes from a greek word for actor or stage player. When someone is acting a role in a movie or play, they are not presenting their true selves, but rather a character prescribed by the author of the play or movie. They are "in role" and most likely nothing like what they are in real person. Yet their 'performance' can be so striking and effective, that we start to think that that is who they are in real life and therefore, we "know" them. But we don't!

So, Paul after he has laid out his wonderful theology of God and the gospel in Romans, then turns to the application of these truths in how we live our lives as those who have been set free from the power of sin and our old identity "in Adam", so that we can live in freedom as the beloved for the Father's glory. So, we need never put on an act, pretending to be someone likeable or good enough because for one thing that just creates too much pressure within us, but also it is totally unnecessary. As is true of Christ Jesus, so it is now true of us in Him. So we can now choose to let go of evil (all forms of selfishness, self-reliance and self-condemnation ... do you see a pattern here?), perhaps evil could be seen as everything that exists apart from God's provision and purpose. But we also get to cling to what is good - US in Christ Jesus, now righteous and being made holy by God's grace through faith. TBTG!

Paul's first thought here is that our being honest with who we are in Christ, will mean we devote ourselves to one another in love, laying aside our own needs at times in order to prioritize the needs of others, an essential characteristic of God's self-sacrificial love. We give because we know we have an unlimited supply available to us. I particularly like how the New KJV of the Bible says, "Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love." What might that look like in your life if you make it a daily commitment and priority. You might feel that it would be hard to keep up but remember, this is by faith not by sight. We trust the Father's promises and lean not on our own understanding. Neither do we remain passive and just hand things over for God to do this ... if He wants.

Ever felt fresh out of zeal?? Another way of saying this might be 'weary of well doing'. Paul wants to help us here to recognize that this is a possibility, our enthusiasm can wane over time, especially when challenging circumstances hit us or we start to feel sorry for ourselves. Paul's solution ... serving the Lord! It is when we make things about God rather than ourselves or even others, it is then that the Holy Spirit in us can do some of his best work.

I wrote in a recent article that if we have no heart to serve, then we are not His. This could be misunderstood to mean that we become His by serving, but that would be to distort the message of grace through faith. Remember, our faith in Jesus, the suffering servant, is what brings us into relationship and union with God. It is all based upon His work, not ours. It is all ultimately for the glory of God, not ourselves. My reason for saying "having a heart to serve", was that that is a good test for the presence of Christ within us, for our having received the Spirit and with Him, a new heart. God's heart. The way that service gets expressed is entirely between you and the Spirit, He will be the judge of that not me or anyone else (see 1 Cor 3:11-14). So please don't misinterpret what I said as a veiled attempt to coerce you into doing something at church. That was not my intention, so I apologize if it came through like that.

That being said, if you want to be renewed in your spiritual life with God, serve Him, as the Spirit gifts, leads and empowers you!

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