Love, love, love
You are reading my open letter to Rome, part: [[]
My friends, here's what I want you to do: make yourselves be an offering for God. The best kind of worship you can give Him is by being a set-apart person dedicated to God. Don't copy the culture around you, don't fit in with people who hate God. Don't pick up their customs and their traditions--those things are worthless. Instead, stay focused on God, let Him transform you and change the way you think and live. When you do this, you'll learn God's will for your life.
I'm telling you these things because God's given me this authority and privilege as a messenger of the good news of Messiah: be yourselves and nothing more. Don't think too highly of yourself; just be honest and measure yourself by the faith God's given you. Remember this: together we're many, but in the end, we are all one body in Messiah.
How to be an offering to God
God has given each person gifts, spiritual and physical. So let the prophets speak God's Word, let the teachers teach God's ways, let those who encourage strengthen the weak, let the givers give generously to the needy, let the leaders govern as God governs, let the merciful people joyfully show mercy.
The crux of the matter is love
My friends, our Master said that of all the commandments in the Law, the most important are to love God and love others. So with that in mind, love from the center of who you are; don't fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to what is right. Honor each other over yourselves. Don't grow cold for God; be on fire for Him, continually growing and maturing as God refines you, strengthening you in the Spirit day-by-day.
And be joyful! After all, the Messiah has plucked you out of the darkness of the world and shone light on your otherwise dark and sinful life, so be joyful in praise and giving-of-thanks to God. If you're going through hard times, keep your patience, God will see you through it. If you're praying, trust that God will solve the matter. If there are any needy brothers and sisters, be a giver and share generously. Living in love like this is the ultimate fulfillment of the Law.
If people are cursing you or persecuting you, bless them. Laugh with your happy friends when they're happy; share tears when they're down. Get along with each other; don't be a big shot. Make friends with nobodies; don't be the great somebody.
Don't repay evil with evil. Live as peacefully as you can. Don't insist on getting even; that's not for you to do. "I'll do the judging," says God. "I'll take care of it." In other words, God will set things straight in the end; for those people who never turn from evil, they'll get what's coming to them.
Remember the old proverb, "If you see your enemy hungry, get him some food. If he's thirsty, get him a drink."? That's what you need to do. See, this isn't some new idea, love has been the key all along. So love each other and love God, and you'll overcome evil with your love.