Sun 24 Sep Spring is upon us. We can tell because the weather is warming up. We can tell because of the colourful flowers and blossoms attracting the bees. We can tell because people are wearing their favourite football colour in the hope it will somehow enable their team to win the grand final. You can tell the team by their colour.
When it comes to Christianity, you can tell the Christian by the traits he or she displays. In Romans 12, Paul instructs Christians in how they are to live, and in living out those instructions their lives will be very distinctive. Some traits will be common to all. Most people will offer hospitality. But many of the traits Paul speaks of will only be truly evident in the Christian.
Can an unbeliever be joyful in hope when they have no hope of eternal life? Would an unbeliever see the need to share with God's people who are in need? would an unbeliever exercise patience when they are afflicted?
The obvious trait which we struggle with is to not seek revenge when we are wronged. When we are hurt in some way, we want to retaliate by seeking revenge on the person who has hurt us. However, Paul instructs these believers that a distinctive of Christian living is not to seek revenge. "Do not seek revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: 'It is mine to avenge; I will repay,' says the Lord." The obvious example is Jesus on the cross who could have sought revenge on those who nailed him to the cross. Instead, He asked His Father to forgive them. Can we leave it in God's hands to deal with those who have hurt us?