Do you struggle to apply Biblical principles to practical daily life? Romans 12 is full of spiritual guidance for those walking toward spiritual maturity. So today I’m excited to break down a very small section of Romans 12 to see exactly what we are commanded to do.
If you missed the first two posts in this series on spiritual maturity, then make sure to start at the beginning.
Spiritual Maturity Series Recap
- Post 1: What is Spiritual Maturity?
- Post 2: How do we use our gifts to walk towards spiritual maturity?
Daily Spiritual Guidance
Do you ever come across a passage that strikes you immediately? Romans 12:9-13 is that passage for me. I like straight-forward direction. I like clear cut communication. It is helpful to me with my personality type. And that is why I love this passage so much. There is no wiggle room or grey area. The commands are clear and easy to understand.
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.Romans 12:9-13
Guide Book to Daily Life
This passage is so to-the-point that I hardly see the need to expound upon it. However, I always find it useful to break down specific commands. Otherwise, it can be easy for them to all blend together, causing us to miss the weight that each one holds.
Also, what I love about this passage is that it gives us something not to do and then directly speaks to what we should replace that with.
DON’T: “Do not be slothful in zeal.”
DO: “Be fervent in the spirit, serve the Lord.”
So let’s break this down into the specific actions we are told to take as Romans 12 offers spiritual guidance towards maturity.
Spiritual Guidance Paraphrase
- Offer genuine love.
- Abhor evil.
- Hold tight to the good.
- Love one another.
- Show honor so much that you are outdoing each other.
- Be fervent in the spirit.
- Serve the Lord.
- Rejoice in hope.
- Be patient in trial.
- Constantly pray.
- Serve others’ needs.
- Show hospitality.
Do you want to know the two constants I see in all of these commands? None of them are selfish and all of them require intentionality.
So often our daily lives are completely “me-focused.” We are constantly striving towards our own goals and attempting to make our own lives easier or more pleasant. This can even come in the form of seemingly good things.
Perhaps my goal is to make more money so I can provide a better life for my family. Or maybe it’s to grow a ministry that offers service to others. These are not bad things in and of themselves.
The issue appears when we make the progress towards our goals (even good ones) overshadow the process. “How” we go about our daily lives needs to be in alignment with the 12 commands found in this passage in order to grow in spiritual maturity.
And that brings me to intentionality.
Living an Intentional Christian Life
Let me just start by saying that we, as Christians, cannot accomplish the above list perfectly. We will fail. We are human. But when we are living an intentional life, walking in the Spirit, studying the Word, and seeking God’s purposes, then we have the ability to push our desires to the side and make His ways our ways.
Slow Down & Study the Word
One of the reason I fail so often at the above list of commands, is because I don’t slow down and consult God’s Word. Why do we make the Christian life so complicated? We struggle and toil and strive to do things on our own when He’s there every second waiting for us to consult Him.
I know my natural tendency is to go-it alone. We, as Americans especially, have made independence into an idol. The whole mentality of “pull yourself up by your boot straps” has become this impossible expectation for us. When in reality, God never expected us to do it alone.
So the first step in intentionality is to slow down our thought process in order to be considerate in our actions and decisions. Rather than plowing ahead to take action, we must take the time to study the Word and pray.
We would be remiss to move forward in our goal towards spiritual maturity without an immersion into God’s Word and a constant prayer life.
It’s that simple. And yet, it’s that complicated. Because it isn’t our natural tendency to live in a continual process of seeking God’s Word first.
So, before we can accomplish the 12 commands in this passage (along with the dozens of others we find throughout God’s Word) we need to realign ourselves with Him.
How do we “offer genuine love”? We seek God’s Word for examples of how others’ have done this and how He commands us to do so. How do we be patient in trial? We study the stories chronicled for us in God’s Word to get a clearer picture of what that looks like. And then we pray.
And then, we move forward. Slowing down and focusing on God’s Word is arguably the greatest challenge we face in today’s society. With the barrage of media and expectations from the world we must make this our goal. Then, our other goals will fall into their place in priority.
So tell me, what is your strategy for being intentional in seeking God’s Word?