the chorus, "The Family of God."
Iím so glad Iím a part of the family of
Iíve been washed in the fountain, cleansed by His blood.
Joint heirs with Jesus as we travel this sod.
Iím glad Iím a part of the family of God."
Something happens when you are
surrendered. Your whole life changes. If I am not surrendered, if I am not
being transformed willingly by the renewing of my mind, then the fog is
still sitting on me. It has not lifted. I see the church as an
organization. I see it differently than God sees it. But, oh, when I
become surrendered, God begins to lift that fog and I begin to see the
congregation, the church, differently than I have ever seen it before.
As a matter of fact, when I am surrendered we know from studying chapters
1 through 11, the Holy Spirit of God produces a love in me. It is
qualified in verse 9. He says, "Let love be without hypocrisy." There is
something in me and my relationships to others that is drastically
different. It is God in me. It is God in you. God is manifesting a love
that human ability could never attain. It is a divine love. It is a
sensitive love. It is a caring love. It is a selfless love. It is God in
us, living and manifesting His life and love through us.
Now, to show you that Paul is talking about the body of Christ, look again
at verse 10. I want you to see this. He says in verse 10 of chapter 12,
"Be devoted to one another in brotherly
The word "another" is very
significant in the Greek language. In the English language we say another,
another, another, and that is all we know. But in their language they had
two words. One Greek word is the word heteros. That means another of a
totally different kind. You need to know that when you are studying 1
Corinthians 12 in dealing with the gifts because he groups them in
different, totally different groups. To one is given, to another is given.
You need to know that word heteros and how it fits in that context.
Heterosexual means a different kind. A man would look over and see a
woman, and a woman would see a man and they would realize they are
different, I guarantee you. So we have heteros. It means another of a
Then there is the word allos, which is the word we get "ally" from.
It means another of the exact or the very same kind. Jesus, when He was
going back to the Father, said,
"I will send another Comforteróanother
exactly like Me. I will send My Spirit to live in you."
So Jesus is in me today in the
person of His Holy Spirit, another exactly like Him.
Paul says, "Be devoted to one another."
Which word does he use? Does he use
heteros? Is he talking about the world and the Christians because
they are different? No, he uses the word allos, another of the very
same kind. He is talking about Christian brothers and sisters. As far as I
know, he doesnít change that context in chapter 12. That will be
significantly important as we begin to work our way down through here.
There are some who say that he has been talking about relationships within
the church in chapters 9-13. Then in chapter 14 and down he goes into
relationships outside the church. I beg to disagree. I believe he stays
inside the church, so remember that is the direction I am going to take it
as we walk through this today.
Letís look at verses 9-13 and see how this love is qualified. It is very
important that we see this. See if you can follow along with me by what
the verse says. We know that love is without hypocrisy in verse 9. It does
two things. This love that the Holy Spirit of God produces in us as we are
surrendered to Him will cause us to choose never to intentionally do
anything that would bring harm to our brother. That didnít say that out of
love for him we may not hurt him, but we do not hurt him except down the
road to heal him or her, whoever we are talking about. When the Holy
Spirit is filling you with this kind of love, you cannot, regardless of
whatever anyone says, do anything that would be intentionally injurious to
another brother or sister in Christ.
We will, because of it, be glued. Cling means to be glued. We will be
glued to that which only does spiritual good. This is the good that is
eternal and righteous and the kind that God does in our life. It is God
working through us. We will see the body of Christ as our family.
The word "devoted" there has the meaning of family. We will be
devoted to them regardless of their maturity. There are going to be some
who just arenít very mature. There are going to be some who are very
mature. But we will be glued to doing whatever we do with the intention
that it will be beneficial, spiritually benevolent, to them. We will take
the lead in loving them, not waiting on them to love us. Now that is
important to remember. Some people always want somebody to love them. No,
sir. This love is operative. We take the lead in loving others. We will be
quick to respond. In fact, our attitude will be like a pot of water,
fervent it says, a pot of water boiling over, ever ready to show love to
others in the body. We will take great pleasure in the expectation of the
good we believe will come from showing this act of love, whatever it is.
You see, when you are in the power of the Holy Spirit, you intentionally
do good and take great pleasure in knowing that perhaps that good
somewhere down the road will bring a great result, an eternal result in
that personís life. It will be so much so that we are willing to bear up
under whatever grief is caused by immature family members, not
understanding this kind of love. We are never ceasing to pray for those we
serve, always wanting to participate, verse 13 says, in the needs of the
saints. We will pursue this even with those in the body we do not know.
Now that is amazing.
It starts in verse 9. All those are participles all the way down to verse
13. It is a beautiful picture of what love without hypocrisy is all about.
I want to say it again. It is not something I can work up, it is something
God the Holy Spirit produces when I am living a surrendered life. I take
this sinful body and present it to Him because I donít want to present it
to sin and to bondage. God takes it and, like a vessel, flows His life
through it. The mark on that life being ushered through my life is that
word love, and it is without hypocrisy.
Now you come into verse 14. There are a lot of hard times that you have to
endure in the family of God. Yes, there are some in the world, certainly.
But I am talking about in the family of God. You could have called this,
"How to Love Each Other in the Hard Times," the hard time meaning
persecution. I hate to tell you, but it is in the Word of Godóand God has
already told us in 2 Timothy 3:12óPaul says that if you seek to live a
godly life, he didnít say you might be, he said you will be persecuted.
That word is going to surface in the first verse we are going to look at.
Now again, I am going to take it from within the body of Christ. Some
people take it without. That certainly is true and I do not denounce that.
I donít think the context has changed, though. I think he is still in the
body, still in the family, to one another as we walk through this.
Alright, letís read verse 14:
"Bless those who persecute you; bless
and curse not."
Now the first thing I want you to
see is that Paul tells us this love without hypocrisy, when it is active
in us, tells us what response to make to those who give us great pain and
great grief as we seek to live godly lives and show this love one to
another. Again, it is cloudy. Does he mean without or within the church? I
am going to stay here because I have found out, folks, flesh is flesh,
whether it is in a lost person or in a saved person. There is as much
persecution inside the church as there is outside the church and it would
be healthy for you to understand that. When a person refuses to surrender
to the Lord Jesus Christ, then the kind of activity that comes out of them
is not at all the kind of love the Holy Spirit produces. That flesh part
of him will do things that will hurt you and bring great pain into your
Christian walk. You have got to know how to respond.
Since you have been a Christian have you been a member of at least two
different churches? Most of us have. Now, I want to ask you a question.
Didnít you think that if you left some of the churches that you were in
that were painful and bad and moved to another church it would get better?
Didnít you think that? As a pastor, I did. Do you know what I found out?
They fooled me, they moved with me! Now, they disguised themselves. They
have different faces and they changed their names. Boy, they were hard to
recognize. But they are the same people. You can just back off and look at
them. They are the same. They are wherever you go.
The word "persecution," dioko, is something that you need to
realize. It is the word that means to follow after, to pursue after. Many
times over the years that I have been here, I have talked about a coon
hunt. The raccoon, you know, just doesnít bother anybody. He sleeps all
day long. He gets up in the evening when everybody else goes home and goes
about his business. Then one night, he hears the sound of dogs baying out
there in the dark. He says to himself, "Oh, no. I havenít bothered anybody
and here we go again." Then that sound gets on his trail! You know what
they are like when they are treed. They get that high-pitched sound. That
poor little raccoon wasnít bothering anybody.
That is the word for persecuted. That is the word right there. Do you mean
they follow you everywhere you go? Yes, and especially when you seek to
live a godly life. Number one, they donít understand this kind of love and
they donít understand the God we serve. It is going to follow you and it
is going to be within the church walls as much as it is going to be
without it. I wish it were not that way. Flesh is inside the church and
outside the church.
How should we respond when people treat us in such ways that bring great
pain and great grief into our life? Well, he says,
"Bless those who persecute you; bless
and curse not."
Now the word "bless" is the
qualifier. It is the word eulogeo. It comes from two Greek words.
Eu means good, and logeo means to speak. So it means to speak good things
about this person. Now careful, donít jump ahead with surface
interpretation. You may be thinking, "Now wait a minute! Do you mean when
somebody, even in the body of Christ, treats me like dirt, I am supposed
to say something good about them? That is a lie." Yeah, it sure is. And
God is not telling you to lie about them. What does it mean to bless
somebody, to speak well of somebody?
You have to read the whole verse. He says, "bless and curse not." The word
"curse" means to wish evil upon someone. That is what it means to curse
them. It means to say, "Oh, I hope he gets his. I hope this happens in his
life," wishing evil upon them. Instead, wish that good things could come
upon them. Speak that which is good. Donít lie about them because they are
mean people, but speak good. Wish that which is good to come upon them.
Now that is the way you treat those in the body of Christ who bring great
grief and pain in your Christian walk. You are seeking to walk surrendered
to Christ and they treat you as if you are dirt. You donít wish evil upon
Now you know, if you didnít understand chapters 1-11, you canít understand
this. In chapter 8 we know why we can do this. Do you know why? Because
God is causing all things, even those people who bring us grief, to work
together for good to those that love God, to those who are called
according to His purpose. You see, you have got to have the first 11
chapters of Romans to even begin to understand chapters 12 through 16.
Everything in chapters 12 through 16 hinges off of what we have already
seen as we have studied Romans. God is in charge. He even uses the
persecution. To do what? To drive us to the end of ourselves. Why? Because
Romans 8:29 says that we might be conformed into the image of Christ
Jesus. So the pain and all the things that we go through in this quarry,
in this school, in this workshop down here on this earth are all tools
that God is using to chip off and to hone and to make us into the image of
His Son, Jesus Christ. It drives us to the end of ourselves where we learn
to decrease and then He is able to be increased in our life. That is what
life is all about.
So as a believer, when it comes, back off and say,
"God, I donít know what you are doing
in this, but thank you that you are in control of it and I am not about to
wish evil upon this person. I want them to know the same God I know and
trust and walk with day by day."
You donít wish evil upon them. As a
matter of fact, it is by the grace of God that you are not like they are.
So speak well of them. Speak good of them. That is the response of a
person whose love is without hypocrisy. Because you have got the bigger
picture, you can see far beyond the pain and what the individual is doing
to you in your life.
It is the saddest thing in the world when people live with bitterness
inside them. Hebrews says,
"Donít let a root of bitterness grow up
thereby defiling many."
Do you know where it comes from? It
comes from not being surrendered. It comes from not understanding that
only when you are surrendered, this is your logical, reasonable spiritual
service of worship. When you make this offering of yourself to God, God
can transform you, renew your mind and you are going to think differently
from that point on. But a person not willing to live that way is a person
who has put himself, his sinful body, right back up under bondage, the
same bondage that God has freed him from. He lives in misery, bound to
something that he should never be bound to. So, the response.
But secondly, there is an attitude that we have to those in the body
around us as we all go through this suffering. I want to qualify
something. We donít all go through it at the same time. You may be going
through it at work, but maybe I am going through a reprieve. I am in a
season where there is no persecution right now. Donít you love those
times! But get ready, it is coming. So we are not going through it at the
same time. Sometimes we are going through it at the same time, like the
early church did. They were all being persecuted from without. Keep that
in mind as we walk through this. There is an attitude that the Spirit of
God will give us, an unselfish attitude, a very caring attitude, for the
people who are around us.
Look at verse 15. He says,
"Rejoice with those who rejoice, and
weep with those who weep."
Now be careful, donít jump too
quickly. There is a truth in this, but I donít think that is the one he is
bringing out. It is true that we are to rejoice with those who rejoice and
weep with those who weep. As a matter of fact, that is one of the greatest
qualifiers if your love is truly what God wants it to be. Any of us can
weep with those who weep. When somebody dies we can always go and weep and
take flowers and candy. Why? Because they are worse off than we are. But
not all of us can rejoice when others rejoice. Oh, no, no, no. It doesnít
work that way, does it?
Could we all be honest? If you would just get flat out honest, that is the
way it is. Flesh doesnít rejoice. If somebody in your church whom you know
real well inherited a million dollars, could you say, "I am so happy for
you"? No, you walk away saying, "God, how come it is him? How come it
couldnít be me?" You see, we canít rejoice. Only when God the Holy Spirit
is in charge of us can we rejoice when they rejoice. That is the key, not
the weeping, but the rejoicing.
But that is not what he is talking about here. I donít believe that has a
thing to do with it. I think it is certainly involved in the truth, but he
has not left the theme of persecution. He says, "Weep with those who weep,
rejoice with those who rejoice." Now there is a rejoicing and there is a
weeping when people go through persecution. We have to understand that.
Look over in Acts 5:41 at people together rejoicing because of
persecution. You begin to understand the honor of being persecuted. We
dread it. Oh, no. We need to look forward to the fact that God exalts us
in persecution. He is exalted in persecution, but He is honoring us
because He is trusting us by our walk.
"So they went on their way from the
presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to
suffer shame for His name."
Now look at Romans 5:3. We have looked at this before, but I want you to
see it now. Romans 5:3 says the same thing. There is a rejoicing in this.
Yes, there is a weeping. It is a two-sided coin. On one side we are
weeping because it is painful and it is difficult. On the other side there
is a reason that we can rejoice with one another.
"And not only this," it says, "but we
also exult in our tribulations," we rejoice in our tribulations, "knowing
that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance.... hope does
We know those verses.
Paul is saying when you go through a trial, God the Holy Spirit begins to
show you the honor of going through it. But you also begin to experience
and feel the pain of having to go through it. Do you realize when somebody
persecutes you, they have honored you and deemed you worthy to be
dishonored and shamed for the cause of Christ? We look at it exactly the
opposite, but God looks at it this way. Whenever I am being persecuted, I
ought to back off and say, "Thank you, God. Thank you, God. Something is
going right in my life. And the Christ in me, being manifested in His love
through me, is drawing persecution from the world. They canít stand it.
They fight against it. Somehow our walk has been deemed worthy so that we
might be disapproved and put to shame for the cause of Christ."
But there is also that weeping with others as they weep. There is a
weeping and there is a rejoicing that the family of God shares together as
they live godly lives, surrendered to the Holy Spirit of God, letting God
be who He is in their life.
It is a beautiful picture here, an attitude of understanding each other,
an attitude of joining hands and saying, "Okay, man, I am praying for you.
You pray for me. I weep with you and you weep with me." But we will all
rejoice together when our walk is such that persecution is what is
effected and caused because of it. That is the key.
Now, in order for that to happen there is something that God the Holy
Spirit does in me and in you. It takes me off the pedestal and puts me
down where I belong. All of a sudden down here, I begin to see people who
are hurting everywhere. Remember this, I am not always being persecuted,
but somebody is. It makes me aware of it because I may be next. There is
no time out when I can start thinking about Wayne. We are always
considering those who are going through it because, as I said, we may be
Look at the next verse as we walk our way through. Three things in this
verse form a trio. Verse 16 reads, "Be of the same mind toward one
another." Thatís number one. "Do not be haughty in mind, but associate
with the lowly." That is the second thing. Then thirdly, "Do not be wise
in your own estimation." Some people take one piece of this and make a
sermon out of it. Oh, no. That is a completed thought right there. You
need three pieces to complete this puzzle. It is saying basically
essentially the same thing that it says in Romans 12:3:
"For through the grace given to me I
say to every man among you not to think more highly of himself than he
ought to think."
Letís look at this little trio here.
First of all, he says to be of the same mind toward one another. Now he is
not talking about a harmonious, mutual relationship here. No, not at all.
What he is saying is, the first step is, always want for your brother who
is going through this what you would want for yourself if you were in his
place. That is the key. It starts right there. When you see a brother
being persecuted, immediately it ought to prick your heart even though you
may not be going through it at that time. You may be next and you want to
do whatever it is to help him now so that when you go through it, somebody
will certainly want to come and help you. You have that attitude, "I want
for you what I would want for myself if I were wearing the shoes you are
wearing, if I was going through what you are going through." The second
thing even qualifies it more.
Do not be haughty in mind. Isnít it amazing how, when you are not going
through a trial, how you tend to think? "Whew, I must be doing pretty good
right now. There is no persecution in my life. Things are sweet.
Everything is going great. Wow! The church is doing good." You have a
tendency to get a little haughty and you donít seem to understand that if
you are not in a storm of persecution, then you are about to go into one.
You are just in between. Because that is what life is until Jesus comes
back. You begin to start seeking those things for yourself, forgetting
your brother who is going through that season of persecution.
Let me show you the word "haughty." Paul only uses it three different
times. It is the word hupselos. It is found here and also in Romans 11.
Turn to Romans 11:20. I just want you to see how it is translated and get
a feel of the word. Paul means donít be haughty in mind. The word mind, of
course, is attitude: in the attitude you have, donít be haughty. Verse 20
of Romans 11 says, "Quite right, they were broken off [talking about
Israel, the unbelieving Israel that rejected faith, righteousness by
faith] for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith." Now watch. "Do
not be conceited, but fear." That word "conceited" is haughty, the same
word, hupselos. In other words, Paul is saying, "Understand, Gentiles,
that there are others out here that God is concerned with. Donít just draw
the attention to yourself. Donít put yourself up here to where you canít
see anybody else."
Also, the word is in 1 Timothy 6:17. It is so important to see what this
word "haughty" means: "Instruct those who are rich in this present world
not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but
on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy." Now the idea
again, not the same verse, not the context, but the idea here is of a man
going through a good season in his life. The stock market went up and he
is just doing super! Look out, look out, look out. If you start patting
yourself on the back because you are doing so well, you may have a fall.
It is uncertain tomorrow and you have put your trust in the wrong thing.
So again, the idea is donít be haughty in your own mind.
But in the context here, when I am not going through something that is
difficult, God says, "Now, you are not going through it, but your brother
is." He will put the ones on your heart. You donít orchestrate this
yourself. You begin to become concerned for them and He will lead you in
how you are to serve them. This is so very important.
Look at the second part of the second one. He says, "Do not be haughty in
mind, but associate with the lowly." The word "associate" is the word
sunapago. It comes from two words. Remember the biscuit word of Romans 6?
There are two words for "with," meta and sun. Sun is the biscuit
wordótogether with, intimately together with. Then there is the word apago.
Do you know what that word means? It is the word for "rapture", for those
of you who donít believe in the rapture of the church. It is found over in
1 Thessalonians 4 and it means to be caught up, carried away with. So the
idea of sunapago is very interesting, to be caught up or to be carried
away with something. What is it that is going to obsess your mind? Not
you. Oh, no, donít be haughty. Donít forget that there are other people
around you. Be caught up, be obsessed, be carried away with the lowly.
The word "lowly" there is tapeinos, which means something that has been
flattened. I mean it is absolutely flat. The brother you have around you
who is going through a trial has just been flattened out because of that
trial. You be caught up with that brother. Donít be caught up with the
fact that you are not going through something. You are next.
Then Paul goes on and adds the third one. "Donít be wise in your own
estimation." Paul is saying, "Donít think you have it all put together
here. Donít think you understand what that person is going through. You
donít know until you get down in the trenches with him. Now roll your
sleeves up, go get down in the trenches with your brother. Donít be so
wise in your own estimation." It is amazing to me how quick we are to do
that when we are not going through persecution and everything is calm for
a while. We forget that. We tend to draw in rather than look out. All of a
sudden the eye of the storm is gone and boom, we catch those winds that
are swirling behind it and it knocks us flat. Then we say, "Oh, help me."
Then we begin to understand. We were wise in our own estimation. We really
didnít know what was going on until that storm flattened us and we
realized that everybody goes through persecution.
So the idea in the thought here is that if we are going to have this
attitude towards one another, caring for one another, this has got to be
our focus. We have to focus upon not thinking of ourselves, but letting
the Holy Spirit of God open our eyes to the needs and the hurts of others
that are around us.
Well, okay. So what happens when people hurt us and cause us great grief
in the family of God? Well, our response is, we bless them. We do not
curse them. What is the attitude that we have towards others in the body
that are going through it? We rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with
those who weep. What is our focus to do that? Our focus is we donít
consider ourselves to be haughty, we donít have this haughty mind-set. But
we are very consciously aware of others. And we want for them what we
would want for ourselves if we were in the same situation.
Letís move on. In verse 17 there is a caution that Paul gives to us. As we
are going through difficult times how do we live? Verse 17 says,
"Never pay back evil for evil to
Now watch: "Respect what is right in
the sight of all men." That means lost and saved. Now folks, what you have
got to see here and I will work my way through the verse in a moment, but
what you have to see here is we are being watched. Do you know that? We
are being watched? The way you and I respond to persecution is being
watched by others. In the sight of all men there is a certain
responsibility that we have in our character that is very important to
Persecution is going to come. "Well, I am not in it right now." Well, one
of two things is true. One could be you are not surrendered so your life
is not yet worthy to be tested like that. Be careful. But the other could
be that you just came out of one trial and you are getting a breather.
Hang on, there is another one coming. People are watching how we treat one
another and how we respond in the midst of persecution, in times of
difficulty and pain.
With that in mind, letís look at the verse. Paul says in verse 17, "Never
pay back evil for evil to anyone." Now the word "evil" there is the word
for inherent evil. What he is saying is, that inherent evil comes from
flesh. Flesh can be on both sides of the cross and you have to see that.
Romans 7 talks about the inherent evil that is in my flesh today. Paul
says, "I am sold into the bondage of sin." The word "bondage" is not
there. There is something that happened in the past that causes my flesh
to be lured and devoted to sin. I have a sinful body. And because of that,
I have the potential of doing great harm. But others who are that way have
the potential of doing great harm to me within the walls of the church.
When they do it, I am never to pay back evil for evil. The word "pay back"
is recompense. You owe me $10 or I owe you $10 so I pay you back $10. Now
we are going to get to a verse on down where it says, "Vengeance is mine,
saith the Lord." The word "vengeance" is not there. It is a translated
word. The word means out of righteousness. Only God can pay back because
only God knows how much to pay back. If I paid you back, first of all, it
wouldnít be recompense. I would add a little bit on to it.
Now, I have wanted to do that. Have you ever wanted to do that? Come on,
be honest. Has somebody ever hurt you in the body of Christ? I mean, you
just started having your quiet time and somebody had the audacity to do
this to you. You thought if you got right with God everything would be
sweet and rosy, but it wasnít. You lay in bed at night and thought about
how you could get them back. It is amazing how it is just not worth it.
Somebody said, "You can whip a skunk, but it is just not worth it."
When it says "Donít repay evil for evil," some people I am sure are
saying, "Oh, shoot." No, no, no. That is a protection. Because what you
are going to receive back for that is just not worth it. Donít repay evil
for evil. When evil comes to you, there is a response you have and you are
being watched in it.
He goes on to complete that. He says, "Respect what is right in the sight
of all men." In 2 Corinthians 8:21 I want you to see this word "respect"
and how it is translated: "for we have regard [that is the word translated
"respect" in the other verse] for what is honorable, not only in the sight
of the Lord, but also in the sight of men."
Now turn with me to 1 Timothy 5:8. We are only going to look at two now. I
just want you to see how this word is used because it is something that
you have that is more than just respect. It is something that motivates
you to do the right thing. Hang on to that thought. Respect what is right
in the sight of all men, he says in Romans. What does that mean? In 1
Timothy 5:8 he says,
"But if anyone does not provide for his
own [The word "provide" is the same word] and especially for those of his
household, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever."
That word "provide" has the idea
that if he does not respect his family and his God anymore than not to
provide for them, he is worse than an unbeliever.
So the word then has the idea that you have the attitude about you to
respect what is right in the sight of all men, not in the fact that you
just simply comprehend that, but that motivates you to do what is right in
the sight of all men, you see. It is so important here to realize how we
are being watched. All men means the world around you.
We have an obligation, and Paul gives a caution: As we walk through hard
times, we are to say good things about them, not to ever wish evil upon
them. We are to have the attitude to rejoice with those who rejoice, weep
with those who weep. We are in this thing together. We are a family.
But not only that, we are to have a focus, never to think of ourselves
more highly. We are not to be haughty in our minds. We are to remember
that if we are not being persecuted, somebody else is and we could be
next. We always are considering how to get in the trenches with our
brother and help him through it. But a caution: remember that we are being
watched. Our testimony is being built by the way we behave towards one
I want you to understand something. When you hear a message like this,
there are two parts to it. First of all, for me, I can preach it wrong. Do
you know that? I can take a passage like this and make you feel like a dog
if you ever treated me bad. Do you understand what I am saying? I can take
it and twist it and just cut you to the quick. If you have ever done
anything to persecute me or bring me harm, I can make you feel pretty bad.
But that is flesh, isnít it? I have no right to do that. I am to look to
God and to myself and realize what does God have for me in this.
But at the same time, you can hear it that way. "Well, it is about time
you preached on this. As a matter of fact, I am hoping that so-and-so is
listening to what you are saying." You have this tendency to judge
everybody else instead of getting up under what God is saying and say,
"God, what does this say to me?"
That is the key to this thing. It is going to be that way all the way
through chapter 12 of Romans. We have a responsibility under grace, donít
we? Loving in the body is so important. But will it happen? Not until you
and I come to the end of ourselves, submit ourselves to Christ, let His
Word renew our mind and let His Spirit manifest this love. Then, we are
going to start becoming sensitive to one another and the body opens itself
up to each other. Any time you isolate yourself in persecution or pain
within the body of Christ, you have just fallen right into the trap of the
devil. When you start zeroing in on yourself, you have missed it. But when
you start looking at others, you have caught it. That is what is going to
bring you the joy in your Christian walk. The kind of love God has is for
others, and you are the vessel He wants to manifest it through.