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Devotion: Keep Calm and Carry On

Keep Calm and Carry On

Pray: Ask God to fill you afresh with the Holy Spirit. Ask Him to give you grace to love others.

Text: Romans 12:9–21 (ESV)

Marks of the True Christian

[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, 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. 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 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.

The slogan “Keep Calm and Carry On” was created by the British government to boost morale throughout Britain in anticipation of the hardships of World War II. Britain would indeed endure incredible suffering during the war. This slogan sought to unify Britain around the notion that everyone had a duty to “keep on keeping on” in the midst of calamity. Don’t panic. Do your bit. Persevere.

What is our duty in this trial? Our circumstances have certainly changed significantly in the past few weeks. These are extraordinary times. Are we called to something ordinary or extraordinary? When we consider God’s word, and see things from God’s perspective, our “marching orders” are unchanged. God calls Christians, in all times and all places, to a simple duty: “...love one another as I have loved you. (John 15:12)” In the words of David Byrne, “Same as it ever was.” 

What does this look like? Paul says, “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.” We’ve been rescued by Christ and have been called to a life of love in all circumstances. We cling to what is good and reject evil with great contempt.

Trials bring out the best and worst in humanity. We see examples of love, wisdom, generosity, self-sacrifice, and unity. We also see hatred, foolishness, selfishness, finger-pointing, and discord.

For many of us, being at home for days on end with our families brings many of our weaknesses and sins to the surface. Combine this close proximity with fellow sinners with sudden financial uncertainty, fear of getting sick, and the divisive bickering and nastiness online and in the news, and we can easily lose sight of our duty to love. We can start acting and thinking like the culture around us, rather than blood-bought children of God, characterized by love.

We have been loved in an extraordinary way. When we were still lost and dead in our sin, God sent His own son to die on the cross for us. He promises to graciously give us all things for life and godliness. His love moves us to love others genuinely and passionately. By the grace we receive through this gospel, we endure hardship patiently, with hope. We are generous. We sacrifice and serve. If we are bitten, we don’t bite back. We don’t make others pay for their wrongdoing. We don’t think more highly of ourselves than we ought, and we don’t burden ourselves with problems that are not ours to solve. We are peacemakers. We respond to evil with goodness, and overcome it. We keep calm and carry on loving like we have been loved. That is, we go about our ordinary business of showing extraordinary love. Same as it ever was. Same as it ever was.

For Thought/Discussion:
  1. How have you been treating others during this season?
  2. Have you had a “short fuse” or been angry more often recently?
  3. What has dominated your speech and your thought life over the past few weeks?
  4. What are some specific ways you can demonstrate love to others during this season?
Pray: Thank God for His love. Rehearse all of the ways God has demonstrated His love to His people throughout history. Thank Him for specific ways He has shown His love to you. Confess ways you have been unloving during the past few weeks. Rehearse the gospel and receive God’s forgiveness. Ask for grace to demonstrate love to others during this season, especially those closest to you.