Romans 12:9-21 – Marks of the True Christian
Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” No, “if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
This can feel like an overwhelming list of the marks of what it means to be a Christian. When I first read this, it felt like a check list – Genuine love, hate what is evil, hold fast to good, love one another, outdo others in showing honor…..whew! But then I started to reflect on it in a different way as I was walking around Rowe Woods again yesterday…I saw the footprints being left all around in the paths as the warm weather was softening the ground. The prints were showing where people had been and where they were going. There were also more than a few animal tracks around the place. Footprints – where we are where we are going. Marks that show what has taken place.
I see this list in a similar way. Marks that show where we have been as followers of Jesus Christ and where we are going. They may get a little faded over time or they may be embedded deeply in the ground, but the marks are there. I am reflecting today on the ways that my “marks” can be left on the world around me. What steps can I take today to live out these marks of faith?