A Romans 12 Christian seeks healthy relationships with God, themselves, and others.
Let me ask — do you grasp the height and depth and length and breadth of God’s love for you, His grace that was demonstrated for you on the cross? Or would you admit that it’s a struggle to believe?
Some of us live freely because of His love and others find themselves tiptoeing to avoid sin and live a pretty good life. But God wants more for His followers! He KNOWS you and has a dream for YOUR life.
Want to uncover that dream? I can’t wait to share it with you.
UNPACKING GOD’S DREAM FOR YOU
Every parent has a dream for his or her child, and God is no different. God’s dream for you is, ultimately, to make you like His Son.
…until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:13)
To that end, he uses every circumstance — every up, every down, every relationship — in our lives to conform us to His likeness. Nothing goes to waste!
In fact, He designed the Church to be the “perfectly imperfect” environment where we can develop relationships and use our gifts for the betterment of the body — all for the purpose of “attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” Getting help in developing those relationships and gifts is the discipleship definition and meaning.
No matter your age or history or discipleship journey, His dream for you and every one of His children is to become a disciple – a ROMANS 12 Christian.
IDENTIFYING A ROMANS 12 CHRISTIAN
In Romans 12, Paul paints a clear picture of what a believer’s life should look like, both today and 2000 years ago. This picture is our discipleship manual, so to speak.
This rich chapter of the Bible addresses key relationships that define our discipleship journey. When we develop healthy relationships with God, ourselves, and others, we begin to experience the maturity that makes us more like Jesus.
Together, let’s explore each relationship and our response as Romans 12 Christians.
To quickly jump to the relationships identified, use the links below.
- Romans 12:1 teaches SURRENDER to God
- Romans 12:2 calls us SEPARATE from the World
- Romans 12:3-8 coaches us in SOBER self-assessment
- Romans 12:9-13 inspires us to SERVE in love
- Romans 12:14-21 instills SUPERNATURAL responses to evil with good
The 5 Healthy Relationships of a Romans 12 Christian
1. Romans 12:1 teaches SURRENDER to God
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. (Romans 12:1)
Your relationship with God is at the core of your discipleship journey.
For many of us, we have faith, but we’re anemic. We don’t experience His power because our lives aren’t surrendered.
It’s like a spraying hose that suddenly gets kinked. We believe, and we have an understanding of true spirituality, but no water is coming out. Instead, we depend on moralism and attempts to live a great life, but our hose is still kinked because our relationship with God is not surrendered.
Surrendering to God is the power that transforms our faith.
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2. Romans 12:2 calls us SEPARATE from the World
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2)
When we don’t cultivate a healthy relationship with the world, we lack peace. Here’s how:
- We live unsurrendered
- We need distractions to make us feel better
- We’re uncomfortable with quiet and with our thoughts
- We seldom take the opportunity to have our minds renewed
Do any of those examples ring true for you? Many days, we drive home from work listening to SiriusXM and then walk into the house and ask Alexa to read us the news. We busy ourselves with chores, trips to the refrigerator, and chats with others, while avoiding the silence that is so necessary and vital in our lives.
How can we know God’s will when we haven’t allowed for mind renewal?
Developing a healthy relationship with the world includes taking time to gain perspective and, ultimately, peace.
3. Romans 12:3-8 coaches us in SOBER self-assessment
For by the grace given me, I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. (Romans 12:3-8)
God wants you to have an accurate, sober view of yourself: your history, personality, gifts, height, eye color, deepest struggles, and your family background. He wants you to look in the mirror and see all of these things soberly and say, “I like that person.”
The Creator made you purposefully and wonderfully — dearly loved, valuable, precious, and forgiven. You are valuable. Do you believe that?
Coming to grips with the real you happens when you take a sober self-assessment and see yourself the way God sees you.How do you come to grips with the real, authentic you? It happens when you take a sober self-assessment and see yourself the way God sees you: beloved. Click To Tweet
4. Romans 12:9-13 inspires us to SERVE in love
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. (Romans 12:9-13)
As disciples of Christ, our relationships with other believers is foundational to our spirituality and growth. See the beautiful rhythm?
- His Spirit lives inside fellow Christians.
- He’s deposited gifts inside of them.
- Through those believers and their gifts, He wants to hug you, correct you, and encourage you.
- And then He wants to use you to hug, correct, and encourage other believers!
Growing as a Romans 12 Christian includes having relationships with other believers who commit to know each other, sacrifice and pray for one another, and do whatever it takes to help one another.
That’s what it looks like when you live in an authentic Christian community. This is not a new concept! Remember what Jesus said to the early church?
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. (John 13:35)
Maturing as a Romans 12 Christian must include a commitment to love other believers.Disciples of Jesus work to have healthy relationships with other believers, committing to know each other, sacrifice and pray for one another, and do whatever it takes to help one another. Click To Tweet
5. Romans 12:14-21 instills SUPERNATURAL responses to evil with good
The way we navigate life with nonbelievers is another key relationship in our transformation and true spirituality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take 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.
On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:14-21)
This passage isn’t just talking about nonbelievers; it’s also referring to people who’ve been hostile to the Gospel and maybe even towards you. How do you respond to evil with good?
I know it’s not easy. It doesn’t come naturally, that’s for sure! But I’ve discovered three steps within this section of Romans 12 that shows us how to forgive those who have hurt and betrayed us:
- Bless those who persecute you
- Identify with them
- Associate with them
God supernaturally works in our hearts when we bless those who have hurt us, and when we act compassionately and identify with them. The reality is that — in a moment of pressure or weakness — you and I might have acted the same way they did when they hurt you.
Applying these healing steps to forgive your enemy can happen in a moment or over the course of a lifetime. It’s a difficult subject to tackle, but freedom awaits. I hope you’ll start that forgiving process today.
Supernaturally responding to evil with good demonstrates a healthy relationship with nonbelievers and is key to becoming a Romans 12 Christian.
Steps to healing: Take These Steps To Forgive Those Who Have Hurt and Betrayed You
GRASPING GOD’S LOVE FOR YOU
As we mature as disciples of Christ and become more like His Son, we experience the true spirituality of a Romans 12 Christian. We’re transformed by our relationship with our Heavenly Father, the world, with ourselves, with believers, and also with unbelievers.
As a result, my hope is you begin to grasp the height and depth and length and breadth of how much God ALREADY loves you.
Learn more about becoming an authentic, Romans 12 follower of Christ when you grab a copy of Chip’s book, True Spirituality.
Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.More Articles by Chip