If you follow my Macey’s Place Online Instagram page (the handle is @maceysplaceonline if you want to check it out!), I recently posted about a new method of Bible study that I’ve been doing as I am reading through the book of Romans. To get a more in-depth discussion of what that new method entails, head on over to my Instagram page, specifically this linked post! However, pictures of my recent study of Romans 12 will be included below this paragraph! I would recommend this method to every Christian because it has helped me to understand and retain the Word of God so much better! You can write the notes in your Bible like I have, or you can write your notes in a journal or on your phone… whatever works best for you!
As a Christian blogger, this new method has given me so many “messages” to write, so many that I feel like I cannot keep up with the ideas and words bouncing around in my head. But God has led my heart (and my fingers as I type) to the following message: The Marks of a True Christian.
We find this topic in Romans 12, and as I was trying to find a way to make this message “come alive” for you, the reader, I decided to break down the title that Paul gives us. Like any true millennial, I googled the definition of “mark.”
Here’s what I found: “a line, figure, or symbol made as an indication or record of something.” The first few synonyms for “mark” were symbol, sign, and character.
So, Paul gives us a list of signs that indicate that we are a true Christian. In other words, he is giving us an outline of the character of a true Christian… not one that is “going through the motions” but one who sincerely loves God and has been saved by the precious blood of Jesus.
This list begins in Romans 12:9-21 which says,
9 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit,[a] serve the Lord.12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly.[b] Never be wise in your own sight.17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it[c] to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.”21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Honestly, y’all, this blog post is going to be super simple and straightforward. In my Bible study, I just broke down this list, and I’m going to share that break-down with y’all.
Before I do that though, I want you to imagine something with me before we list out these character traits. For all of my outdoorsy people, think of a hiking trail and the trail markers that you would find as you are hiking. For my non-outdoorsy people, I have an explanation of these trailer markers for you. Allison Wachtel says that “no matter what form trail markings take, their ultimate goal is to communicate two basic pieces of information: where a hiker is currently, and where he needs to go next.”
So, when I look at this list, I’m assessing where I am (how I measure up) to these character traits of a true Christian, and I’m also assessing what I need to do to get where I need to go next (my goal of being the best Christian that I can be).
Will you join me on this journey to being a true Christian, a better Christian than we were yesterday?
So on this journey of being the best Christian that we can be, what are the trail markers to look for in our lives?
A disgust/hatred for evil.
Holding fast to what is “good” or godly.
Brotherly affection to all.
Doing your best to outdo others in respecting/esteeming other people.
Being passionate for the things of God and serving God.
Being one who rejoices continuously.
Being hopeful always.
Being patient always but especially in hard times.
Being constantly in prayer.
Contributing to/helping fellow Christians in need.
Showing friendship/hospitality to guests/visitors/strangers. (Listen, Love, Repeat is an awesome resource for living this out!)
Blessing (definition – a prayer asking for God’s favor and protection over) your enemies.
Being one who is sensitive to the feelings of others and acting accordingly.
Living in harmony with other people and doing your best to be at peace with everyone.
Displaying honorable actions always.
Repaying evil deeds with good deeds.
Providing for the needs of your enemies as God calls you to do so.
To sum it all up…
Overcoming evil with good.
When I compare myself to this list, trust me friends, I don’t measure up 24/7, 365 days of the year.
BUT I have the aforementioned trail markers and the Word of God as a whole to act as my guide. It’s my prayer that God would help me to become more and more like this picture of a true Christian each day. It’s my prayer for y’all too, friends.
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The featured image is not mine, but the other images are pictures of my personal Bible!