Day 31

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.

Post Comments (85)

85 thoughts on "Christian Ethics"

  1. Ashley Davidson says:

    God is sovereign!

  2. Laura Donaldson says:

    The first three verses of the Romans 12 passage perfectly empower an enneagram 3w2. Love this

  3. Joyce says:

    Dear Lord help me to hold fast to what is good!!! Let the bad fall to my feet!!!

    1. Berta says:

      Amen sister!

  4. Brandy says:

    This morning I prayed for God to help me truly understand today’s reading! And it just clicked! Thank you Jesus! We have to acknowledge our flesh is weak so we must cling to what is good and just. We have to love genuinely. I pray for improving myself to honor my friends and even my enemies or those who don’t like me. Clinging to Christ!

  5. Lauren says:

    This portion of scripture is always like a slap in the face. Every. Time. I struggle with anger and wanting to seek revenge on the people who wrong me. Several years ago, we were having issues with our neighbor. He was going through some difficult things in his personal life and was behaving like a jerk. A mean, nasty jerk. And I gave it right back. That is until my oldest daughter, who had been learning in Sunday school about loving our neighbors asked why I didn’t the man who lived next door. Talk about a humbling moment. I was convicted right then and there. And God used a child to do it. My heart was softened and I’ve been working daily to show this neighbor love. And now, it’s like he’s a part of our family. None of the things Paul talks about are easy for us to do in our brokenness. I have to cling to God because I can never follow through on any of this in my own strength. I need God.

  6. BBenabe says:

    Clinging to what is good demands effort in my part. The only way to achieve it is to cling to Christ.

  7. Alisa says:

    To take the high road – always my challenge

    1. Kayo says:

      I’m quite pleased with the infmtoarion in this one. TY!

  8. Kylee says:

    “Every day I have to choose whom I will serve: my flesh or my God.” I am reading this as I was just daydreaming about egging my neighbors new patio. But hear me out! I’m not a mean person, you’d think of it too since it’s been 10 consecutive months of construction; tearing down an old little cottage to build this large mansion on the same lot size, and the patio bricklaying process has put me over the edge. Every morning I wake up to the clink-clink-scrape of bricks being laid and cemented. And they still have the front patio to do!
    But GOD –
    “Cling to what is good”. I may be fantasizing of defacing the new neighbors property before they even move in, but God has a different idea for how this is going to play out. I’ll cling to what is good, and on move-in day I’m going to “practice hospitality” and stop by with a treat to meet these new neighbors and invite them & their (young, by the looks of it) children to church with us. I’m going to deny my icky fleshy desires to tell them off or inform them just how hard it’s been to find parking on our street or not run over loose nails as their dream home cost us nearly a year of headache. Instead I’ll “be at peace with everyone, as much as it concerns me,” and be kind to them, not for the brownie points here on earth, but because it pleases the Father to no end when we deny our earthly desires to do the work of heaven here on earth. Lord help us carry these instructions close to our hearts, and walk in love with even the hardest of people to be at peace with. It’s Your will we want, not ours. Amen.

    1. Mel says:

      Oh girl, I get it! Loving our neighbours is tough enough without them taking all the street parking :P I know the welcome you offer to them will be meaningful and impactful, and our Father in heaven will be pleased. <3

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