Last week in Munich, Germany I had the opportunity to work with some great folks who are tirelessly trying to reach their city with the Good News of Jesus. It’s a tough environment in many ways and what the experts call a “Post-Christian” context (with only 2% of the population being born-again believers). At one point, we climbed to the top of a tower to pray over the city. As I looked out over the beautiful spires of grand, once-filled-now-empty cathedrals, a sinking question hit me; “Have we lost the battle?” I wish I could say I had a great faith-filled moment where all seemed right in the world, but I just felt grieved.
Over the next few days as we worked and prayed, I was led to a passage of scripture as I thought about another question, “How do we win?” The answer came through words written long ago to people who probably wondered the same things, and I want to share them. For the record, we haven’t lost the battle, it’s being won every day one-life-at-a-time; but as we plan, pray, and partner, here are some powerful words to keep us on track:
3 “For by the grace given to me, I tell everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he should think. Instead, think sensibly, as God has distributed a measure of faith to each one. 4 Now as we have many parts in one body, and all the parts do not have the same function, 5 in the same way we who are many are one body in Christ and individually members of one another. 6 According to the grace given to us, we have different gifts:
If prophecy, use it according to the standard of one’s faith;
7 if service, in service; if teaching, in teaching; 8 if exhorting, in exhortation;
giving, with generosity; leading, with diligence; showing mercy, with cheerfulness.
9 Love must be without hypocrisy. Detest evil; cling to what is good. 10 Show family affection to one another with brotherly love. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not lack diligence; be fervent in spirit; serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction; be persistent in prayer. 13 Share with the saints in their needs; pursue hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep. 16 Be in agreement with one another. Do not be proud; instead, associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own estimation. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Try to do what is honorable in everyone’s eyes. 18 If possible, on your part, live at peace with everyone. 19 Friends, do not avenge yourselves; instead, leave room for His wrath. For it is written:
“Vengeance belongs to Me; I will repay, says the Lord.”
20 But if your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he is thirsty, give him something to drink. For in so doing you will be heaping fiery coals on his head. 21 Do not be conquered by evil, but conquer evil with good.” –Romans 12:3-21 HCSB