I have no “nevers,” but I do have some “nots.” Examine Romans 12.
1. Romans 12:2 “Do not be conformed to this present world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may test and approve what is the will of God — what is good and well-pleasing and perfect.” Don’t let the world force you into its mold. It will if you let it.
2. Romans 12:3 “For by the grace given to me I say to every one of you not to think more highly of yourself than you ought to think, but to think with sober discernment, as God has distributed to each of youa measure of faith.” What happens in the church when there are members who refuse to obey this negative commandment?
3. Romans 12:4 “For just as in one body we have many members, and not all the members serve the same function.” It’s truly amazing how some members of the Lord’s church don’t understand this simple “not.” Let the elders be elders. Let them run the church. We all have different abilities. The transformed Christian knows this and serves as appointed.
4. Romans 12:11 “Do not lag in zeal, be enthusiastic in spirit, serve the Lord.” When we lose our zeal for serving God, we invite Satan into our lives.
5. Romans 12:16 “Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty but associate with the lowly. One thing all the nations God destroyed had one thing in common: pride.
6. Romans 12:16b “do not be conceited.” This reminds me of the lesson of Luke 17:7-10. We are Christ’s slaves. What do we have to be conceited about? Conceit and narcissism are not a part of the transformed life.
7. Romans 12:17 “Do not repay anyone evil for evil; consider what is good before all people.” Children of God need to repay good for evil, not evil for evil. That’s why they’re transformed children of God.
8. Romans 12:19 “Do not avenge yourselves, dear friends, but give place to God’s wrath,for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.” The person living a transformed life as God’s child does not seek revenge. Did Jesus ever try to “get even” with the Pharisees who killed him, or with the Roman soldiers who crucified him? Nope.
9. Romans 12:21 “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” A person living the transformed life remembers how our Lord did this.
Certainly, we’ll all become more Christ-like and the church will become stronger if we incorporate the nine “nots” into our lives. May God grant us the ability to put these things into practice.
(All scripture quotations are from the New English Translation.)