Romans 13:8 Only One Outstanding Debt Allowed

“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.” Romans 13:8

Just prior to this verse Paul talked about paying everyone what is owed. This covered everything, including taxes, honor, and respect. Now he tells everyone to have no debts that are outstanding except to love others.

Debt has become a common place in today’s society. This goes from the individuals to the nations. Many people believe that in order to live life correctly there must be some type of debt. One can get credit cards very easily that sound good with low return payments, but extremely high interest rates.

Society also expects to be able to have everything they want now when they want it, regardless of the cost. There is a high level of greed in this, and very low level of responsibility and stewardship.

Yet, according to Paul the only debt that is allowed is the debt to continue to love others. This love is the agape love, the self-sacrificing love of God. It is putting others before yourself. It is building others up first. It is meeting their needs first.

This type of love will fulfill the complete law. The first part of the law is about loving God. The second part of the law is loving others. You are not to steal, kill, covet, and anything else against another person. When you love someone, you will not do any of these things.

As a believer you should be striving to pay all of your debts on time. Love is one that you can pay as much as you can pay, and still have room to pay more.

Have you loved every person as much as Jesus loved you? He died on the cross for you.

If you are reading this you have not yet had to die for someone else. You have not had to physically lay down your life in love for someone else.

Are you willing to love as Jesus did?

Are you trying to love as Jesus did?

Let your only debt be the one to love other people more and more each day. Let God’s love flow in and through you to everyone else. Strive to pay that debt as much as you can as fast as you can.

I pray today that you will know the love God has for you; that you will know the love God has for everyone; that you will love others as God has loved you; and that you will strive to have no outstanding debts except to love others.

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Romans 13:1 Subject To Authority

“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” Romans 13:1

Paul brings up a hard challenge for believers, and that is to be subject to those who are in authority. At the time he wrote this verse, Rome was in power and were not very nice to non-Romans. They were even more harsh with Christians. Yet, Paul tells the people to be subject to them.

In America, most people do not like the idea of having to be subject to another person. They love their freedom to do what they want when they want. It becomes especially difficult when the authority is making rules and decisions that are not appreciated or wanted.

There are decisions and rules that authorities are making that no believer should like, yet, every believer must be subject to those in authority. As long as a rule does not directly go against God’s Word, you must obey it. If it goes against God’s Word, as a believer you must be willing to stand against it and not do it, but you must also be willing to take the consequences of not obeying those in authority.

Every leader in authority has been put there by God. No one can answer why some “bad” leaders are in place or why other “good” leaders are not in place. It is God’s choice. He does everything for the good of those who love Him. “Bad” leaders may be in place to get people to look back to Him.

Look at the history of Israel in the Bible. See how many times God allowed bad leaders to overcome Israel to get them to turn back to Him.

Who are you trusting today? Are you trusting your own judgment as to who is good or bad, or what is a good or bad decision? Or are you trusting that God is the one who is really in control?

Do not be afraid of bad decisions by those in authority. Do not worry about them. Everyone in position has been placed there by God for a reason. Trust God and follow Jesus. In the end Jesus and whoever follows Him will win the war.

I pray today that you will trust that God is in control of every situation; that you will be subject to all those in authority; that you will show proper respect to those in authority; that you will follow Jesus with all your heart; and that you will be His witness to everyone.

Romans 12:14 Blessing The Persecutors

“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.” Romans 12:14

During the time that Paul writes this letter, there was a lot of persecution going on. Christians were being attacked by many and had no personal rights in their country. For a time Paul had been one of those persecuting the Christian believers. The people were going through a hard time. It was easy for someone to curse those who were doing the persecuting, yet, Paul says to bless them.

Persecution can show up in many different forms. Most people think of it as just physical abuse against another person. It is also verbal abuse, refusal to recognize, shunning, overlooking, talking bad about, ridicule and rejection. In the USA these types of abuse are more common than the physical abuse.

The common thread of all types of persecution is the pain. There is pain in the physical, as well as the emotional. A person is hurt in the process.

It is very common for a person to attack those who do any persecution on them. They fight back with violence or bad words. Many will curse the person. One thing in common is that there is no love for those who did the persecution.

Blessing a person is asking God to give them favor and what they need. It is bringing the person something they need or helping to meet a need they have. It is talking good about the persecutor despite all the bad that they are doing. It is forgiving them, even when they have not requested forgiveness or repented of the wrongs done.

Jesus had loved you when you were against Him. When you persecuted Him, He still loved you. As a believer you are to show that same love to others. Do not take revenge or fight back at person. Bless the one who is doing wrong to you.

This blessing will show them the true love of Jesus. It may or may not diffuse their abuse, but it will be a testimony to them of God’s love and power.

Cursing a person does you no good. It only fuels the anger and hurt. You are told to not go to bed angry. Bless them and the anger must leave. You cannot be angry and bless a person.

Who are willing to bless today? Who do you need to bless today?

I pray today that God will reveal His blessings to you; that God will reveal His love for all those who do wrong; that you will be filled with God’s love for those against you; that God will strengthen you to bless those who persecute you; and that you will not curse anyone.

Romans 12:12 How To Live

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12

Going through life, everyone has many challenges and problems. It is often very difficult. In this verse Paul gives a few little simple things to do in order to get a person through the challenges of life.

“Be joyful in hope.” As a believer you know that someday Jesus will return to take you to heaven with Him. At that time you will be made perfect and that there will be no more pain or suffering.

What this means for today is that the challenge you are going through is only temporary. God has stated that He will meet all of your needs. With this in mind you can be joyful that there will be an end and someday you will be in heaven with God. Have the inner excitement that God is in control and will help you.

“Patient in affliction.” When you are going through a difficult time, it can be difficult to wait for the answer to come. It is hard to wait for the situation to end.

Again you know that the situation is only temporary. You also know that God will meet your needs. Now you must wait for the answer. The answer may come today, tomorrow, in ten years, or when you step into heaven. You must wait for the answer. You must be patient.

“Faithful in prayer.” Finally, you must be faithfully praying. You are to pray without ceasing. In everything you are to pray. You are to be loyal to God to communicate with Him.

You must take your needs before God. Let Him know how you feel and how you are doing and what you desire. Spend time worshipping Him for what He is doing and will do in your life in both the good and bad times.

If you are not going through a difficult time right now in life, wait, it will come. Jesus promised difficult times. When those difficult times do come remember to be joyful, patient, and faithful in prayer. God will bring you through it. You will be amazed at how God works all things out for your good. Are you trusting Him today?

I pray today that you will know the joy of the salvation Jesus provides; that you will have God’s hope; that God will help you to be patient for His answer; that you will be faithful in prayer to God; and that God will do great and wonderful things in and through you.

Romans 12:3 Right Thinking About Yourself

“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” Romans 12:3

The process of becoming more like Jesus is different for each person. Every person is a different point in that process. With this in mind Paul talks about the idea of thinking about oneself correctly.

Very often people look at themselves as better than someone else. They look at their faith in God and having overcome certain sins as making them better. They have “accomplished” something great in their eyes.

Paul says that you must think of yourself with a sober judgment. A sober judgment is one that correctly looks at the entire situation and truth of it. He states this by the grace given him. Paul had been the Pharisee of Pharisees, leader of the leaders, one of the best in the Law, yet, he throws it all out as he calls himself the chief of sinners in Christ Jesus. God had given him the faith that he now has.

You may have been a “bad” sinner in accordance with the eyes of the world and people, but every sinner is bad, regardless of what they did or did not do. One sin makes you equal to the person with many sins.

It is only by God’s grace that you are allowed to have faith in Jesus. It is only by the calling of God that you can accept Jesus. Without God revealing Himself, you would never know Him.

You may have come a long way as a believer, or you may have some great work in the church to do, but keep in mind you were a great sinner and were saved by the grace and mercy of God.

Use your abilities to build others and God’s kingdom up. Do not look at yourself as someone who has “made” it or as someone super important. Know that God can use others just as well as He can use you. He just wants people who are willing to be used by Him.

I pray today that you will know who you are in Jesus; that you will remember where you came from; that you will know the grace God has given you; that you will use your abilities for God’s kingdom; and that you will not look down on others who don’t have your abilities.

Romans 12:2 Knowing God’s Will

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2

Many believers want to know what God’s will is for their lives. They will go to the pastor asking for guidance in this area or read many books on how to know God’s will. Paul puts it very simply–do not be like the world and transform your mind.

It is seen all over the country how many churches are becoming more and more like the world. They change their witnessing tactics to be just like the world. They offer all types of things or services to draw people into the church and “trick” them into hearing the gospel message. While doing this they don’t really preach the gospel message, it is watered-down to please the people. The world likes to do all of these things. Doing these things is knowing the will of the people, not the will of God.

As believers do these things, they get confused as to why they cannot hear God or really know what His will is.

When a person becomes a believer he is supposed to die to his old self and old ways and come to life in Jesus. With this new life, there should be a change in the mind. The change is in how you think and what you think.

The old person thinks about how to build up self and please self. The new person in Jesus thinks about how to build up others and please God.

What are you thinking about today? Are you thinking about yourself and what you can do and accomplish for yourself? Or are you thinking about what God can do in and through you?

Focus on what God wants in your life. Change your mindset to focus on God. Let go and be led by His Holy Spirit in every area of your life.

As you do this you will learn and know what God’s will is for your life. In the end you will see that His will is always good and pleasing. It is these things because it is also perfect.

I pray today that you will allow God to change your thinking; that you will think about the things of God; that you will not conform to the pattern of this world; and that you will know and follow God’s perfect will for your life.

Romans 12:1 A Living Sacrifice

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God–this is your true and proper worship.” Romans 12:1

Paul had just talked about how God’s mercy brings salvation to both the Israelites and the Gentiles. Since this is the case, believers are to keep God’s great mercy in mind and offer their bodies as a living sacrifice. This is called true and proper worship.

In the Old Testament times, worship of God was done by sacrificing an animal on an altar. An animal was chosen that was without any defects and laid upon the altar. It was then killed and burned as a sacrifice of worship to God.

When Jesus died on the cross, He became the saving sacrifice for all time and all people. Unlike the sacrifices in the Old Testament for covering of sins, His sacrifice does not need to be repeated by anyone ever again. Yet, there needs to be sacrifices of worship to God.

Paul is stating that you should offer your body as a living sacrifice. You do not have to physically die on the altar, but your body must be sacrificed.

Sacrificing your body is doing God’s will with your physical abilities despite what you or your body wants to do. It is going the extra mile to help someone out, or to tell someone about Jesus. It is loosing that extra sleep in order to build someone else up in Jesus. It is denying sinful acts to live a testimony of who Jesus is. It is refusing to live in sin. It is going out of your way to be a witness to others.

Doing God’s desire is the greatest form of worship a person can give God. Speaking praises to God is good, but if the heart is not in it, and there is no action to back it up, it becomes meaningless. Jesus said that if you really love Him you would obey Him. This is the meaning of a living sacrifice–to obey God and do what He desires, even at the cost of your physical being.

Are you really worshiping God today? Or are you just speaking words of worship?

Are you worshiping God? Or are you worshiping yourself?

I pray today that you will know the mercy God has for you; that you will offer your body as a living sacrifice to God; that you will obey God’s desires for your life; and that you will be His witness everywhere you go.