Christian Ethics

from the Romans reading plan

Romans 12:9-21, Matthew 5:44-47, 1 Corinthians 4:6-13

BY Guest Writer

Scripture Reading: Romans 12:9-21, Matthew 5:44-47, 1 Corinthians 4:6-13

Reading Paul’s list of exhortations to the Romans makes me tired. Seriously. Rid your life of hypocrisy. Love deeply. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lack diligence in zeal. Share with the saints. Pursue hospitality. Live at peace with everyone…

With everyone? Really?

Dude. Paul. I need some coffee. And also, when am I supposed to binge-watch my TV shows?

In all honesty, when I compare my life to the lives of the disciples, I begin to see why Paul fills 1 Corinthians 4:6-13 with so much irony. I practically live like a queen compared to Christ’s beloved friends back in the day, and compared to much of the world today. Most of my time is spent concerned about how I’ll choose to spend my time.

I catch myself daydreaming about the life the world tells me I should have: a life with a passionate (never rocky) marriage to my soulmate, a clean and immaculate house, a career that’s advancing, children that are thriving, and plenty of time at the gym maintaining the body of a teenager. To top it off, the world tells me I need to portray this “perfect” life to the world on social media, to attract more followers.

With this world as my guide, adding Paul’s list to the mix is absolutely impossible. There are not enough hours in the day to do both what the world demands of me and what God desires for me. And so I have to choose.

Every single day I have to choose whom I will serve: my flesh or my God. Some days I make the right choice. Some days I make the wrong one. This is the life of a work in progress, one that God promises to bring to completion in His time (Philippians 1:6).

Perhaps that’s why Paul tells us to “cling to what is good” (Romans 12:9). If good was an easy, simple thing to hold onto, why would he tell us to cling to it? I know that in my own life, if I’m not clinging to God, the natural inclination of my heart is one of jealousy, coveting, and destructive daydreams. So while it seems like what Paul is cautioning us to do should be obvious, I know it to be oh-so difficult to put into practice. Detest what is evil; cling to what is good. I know that If I’m clinging to something, then I’m desperate, grasping. I’m holding on for dear life.

These passages remind me that my very life is at stake, and that evil really is evil. Paul pokes at my carefully built life, reminding me that Christ’s path of goodness and stillness and quietness is the only route to peace. I can rest knowing that the battle is the Lord’s. But I can’t assume that rest and peace will come without effort on my part, without my choosing God. I must cling to Him and let go of everything else.

Dear Lord, help me to hold on.


Claire Gibson is a freelance writer and editor whose work has been featured both locally and nationally in publications including The Washington Post, and Entrepreneur Magazine. An Army kid who grew up at West Point, New York, Claire is currently growing roots in Nashville, Tennessee. She loves her husband, Patrick, and their dog, Winnie.

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85 thoughts on "Christian Ethics"

  1. Melonee says:

    It does seem exhausting…paul’s “to-do” list of what our christian life is to look like. But I also have to remember this life is not a sprint, it’s a journey. It’s a daily dying to self, a daily taking up the cross of Christ. It’s daily trying with the help of the holy spirit to make the choices God would be pleased with me making. It’s setting our eyes on the prize as it talks about in Hebrews 12.
    Lord…may my eyes always be on the prize.

  2. Steph C says:

    “Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them” (12:9). Oh God, help me to genuinely love people! Some days it is easy to pretend to love people. But if I’m just pretending, it will show when things get hard or relationships become strained. Genuine love is healing and strong. God’s love is genuine. He helped us when we were unlovable. This is how He tells me to love people. Love is shown in giving. “When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them” (12:13). Look for opportunities to help and to give. Oh Father, help me to love others as you love them!

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