9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Detest evil; cling to what is good. 10 Love one another deeply as brothers and sisters. Take the lead in honoring one another. 11 Do not lack diligence in zeal; be fervent in the Spirit; serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction; be persistent in prayer. 13 Share with the saints in their needs; pursue hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud; instead, associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own estimation. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Give careful thought to do what is honorable in everyone’s eyes. 18 If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Friends, do not avenge yourselves; instead, leave room for God’s wrath, because it is written, Vengeance belongs to me; I will repay, [b] says the Lord. 20 But
If your enemy is hungry, feed him.
If he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
For in so doing
you will be heaping fiery coals on his head. [c]
21 Do not be conquered by evil, but conquer evil with good.
Today's devotion is brought to us by Becca Brockman Becca is daughter to proud parents, Steve and Laura, and a Senior at Clemson University. Becca serves as Chaplain for Kappa Kappa Gamma, Leader of FCA Freshman Outreach, and VP of Clemson Tour Guides.
After my sales internship was cancelled last summer due to COVID, the Lord made a way for me to work on the summer staff for a Christian camp. I served as the nanny for the permanent staff at Camp Ozark in Mt. Ida, Arkansas. My role looked like part-camp counselor, part-mom for my three kids. (Side note – for the parents reading this, I have a whole new respect for you!)
As much fun as we had together, there were many times that summer when my kids really did NOT like me. I think they sometimes thought I traveled from South Carolina just to make their lives miserable. This is because they hated my rules…limited electronics during the day, eating more than just the desserts in the Mesh Hall, trying one new activity at camp each week, taking showers, you name it.
Little did they know how much I LOVED them, even though I often reminded them. After spending all day every day for 8 weeks with them, I felt like we were family. And my personal goal for the summer as their nanny? To provide them with the most memorable summer at camp they have ever have, and to love them like Jesus does. And that’s WHY I gave them rules.
If they spent every day playing video games and on the iPad, they would let a summer pass by without making friends and going on adventures around camp. If they only ate desserts in the Mesh Hall, I know my 8-year-old would get tired, grumpy, and mean by 3 pm. I wanted them to try one new activity a week at camp to build courage and discover a new hobby! Every rule was given with purpose and love.
I think it’s the same way with the Lord. You may read this passage and initially think, “Great, a bunch of rules that I can’t live up to. Thanks a lot, God.”
Well, I think it’s first important to note that this passage is not a list of rules to gain salvation, for our salvation comes from believing in the resurrection and declaring that Jesus is Lord (Romans 10:9). Instead, I believe that this passage is actually a response to salvation. I believe that if we truly believe and meditate on the gospel, and invite the Holy Spirit into our hearts, that these “rules” - deeply loving and honoring each other, living in humility, generosity and compassion, rejoicing in hope, etc. – won’t seem like rules anymore, but a way for us to become closer to the Father.