Romans 12: Having Quality Relationships with Others First Requires a Relationship with the Lord
The real source of strong relationships with others must start with a strong relationship with the Lord. As Paul says, once we have offered our bodies as a living sacrifice to God and we allow ourselves to be transformed by the renewing of our minds, then we can resist conformity with the patterns of this world and cultivate quality relationships with others.
Once that relationship with God is established and strong, you will then be able to determine your own gifts and what God’s perfect will is for your life. We all have God-given gifts, but we need to identify them and then exercise them in accordance with His will. If we choose to compete with others in their areas of giftedness, we will only be frustrated, and we will miss the opportunity to utilize our own gifts. Each of us possesses our own gifts that can, and should, be used to glorify God and advance His Kingdom.
In verses 9–21, Paul begins to provide the practical advice that he articulates so many times in his other letters. But he sets up that message with the requirement that our relationship with the Lord comes first, and then we must utilize our gifts in a way that cooperates rather than competes with our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Selected excerpts from the end of chapter 12 include the following advice:
- Hate what is evil; cling to what is good (v. 9).
- Be devoted to one another in brotherly love (v. 10).
- Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer (v. 12).
- Share with God’s people who are in need (v. 13).
- Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud (v. 16).
- Do not repay anyone evil for evil (v. 17).
A Moment to Reflect:
What have you determined to be your spiritual gifts? If you’re not really sure, then think about those things you are passionate about and that make you happy. What do you do well and enjoy doing that positively impacts others? How can you exercise those gifts in a way that pleases God and advances His Kingdom on earth?