Self-Help Books are written to instruct readers on solving personal problems. This style of book was popular from the 1950’s through the 1990’s. They qualified as a cultural phenomenon in those days. The idea was, if you want to change or improve some aspect of your personal life, simply follow the steps in a self-help book written about your theme of interest.
These books cover subjects from how to win and influence people… to how to develop good habits… to how to make a million dollars… to how to improve your health… to how to get things done… to how to find the right mate… to how to get physically fit… and so on and on and on.
In some ways, God’s Word, the Bible, is the supreme self-help book, but would probably better be described as the God-Help book. His Word tells you how to be born again and how to live a Christian life. Within its pages are instructions, directions and insights about personal, family, vocational, community, private, public, home, and eternal life.
With this in mind, let me ask, as a Christian, are you doing your best for Jesus? Of all the areas we need to do our best, being our best for Jesus should be a top priority. Here are some thoughts from Romans 12 on how to be your best for Jesus.
Paul’s epistle to the Romans falls into two main divisions. The first 11 chapters deal with theological doctrine, while the final 5 chapters present subjects for practical application. The final section in Romans 12 begins this way: “Therefore I urge you brethren…” (verse 1). It starts with Paul’s exhortations for them, and us, to apply doctrinal truth to real life. It is never enough just to know doctrinal truth. To be affective, learning must be translated into living.
Romans chapter 12 falls into three natural divisions that may be applied like this:
- How to be your best for Jesus as a Person (Individually), Romans 12:1-8.
- How to be your best for Jesus as a Partner (In the Body), Romans 12:9-16.
- How to be your best for Jesus as a Pilgrim (In the World), Romans 12:17-21.
God longs for His children, born-again by personal faith in Christ, to become part of a local church body. The Christian life was not meant to be lived in isolation, but in participation with other like-minded believers. To go to heaven, you do not have to be a church member—but as a believer—you need to be a church member, because you need others, and they need you. So, Paul wrote: “I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think… for just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another” (verses 3-4).
In Romans 12:9, Paul gives specific instructions on how to be your best for Jesus: To be your best for Jesus as a Partner:
1. You Must Love Others…”Let love be without hypocrisy.”
Loving others is the first duty in the Christian life, and the greatest virtue. Love is the greatest spiritual gift (1 Cor. 13:13). Love is the first of nine fruits of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23). Love is the identifying mark of Christ’s disciples (John 13:35). And Love is to be higher than any other duty. “Above all keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8).
Christian love is to be without hypocrisy. The origin of the Greek word “hypocrisy” is rooted in the Greek and Roman theatre. The word described an actor who would hold up different masks during a performance, to show his happiness, anger or sorrow. When applied to life, a hypocrite is one who puts on a face different than the intent of his heart. Paul said Christian love is to be genuine, real and true, without pretense or show.
2. You Must Hate Evil, “Abhor what is evil.”
Don’t think a Christian should not hate—he should hate—evil! “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil” (Prov. 8:13). The psalmist wrote, “Hate evil, you who love the Lord” (Psalm 97:10). The Christian must hate evil in his own life. Evil in the Christian life is like a malignancy that spreads, if allowed to remain. If we do not hate evil, we will tolerate it, then pity it, and finally embrace it. You cannot flirt with sin and expect it not to affect you. “Abhor” means to despise or hate; to have a horror of evil. The correct way to show our revulsion of evil is by withdrawing from it.
3. You Must Do Good, “Cling to what is good.”
The word “cling” means to glue together, to join, bond or unite firmly together. We need to stick like glue with “what is good.” Goodness and doing good things should be part of our lives every day. Paul gave the best advice you can heed when he wrote the Thessalonian church to: “Examine everything carefully; Hold fast to that which is good; Abstain from every form of evil” (1 Thess. 5:21). Notice this command begins with “examine everything carefully”—which calls for spiritual discernment. Evaluate what you do, where you go, how you think, and determine whether to reject or cling to it.
If you are a believer in Christ, and want to be your best for Jesus (and who doesn’t?)—Love Others Sincerely—Hate Evil Aggressively—and Hold to the Good Tenaciously!