How to Live Like a Good Roman.

Most of us can appreciate good advice when we hear it. The problem with it though is largely the difficulty we all experience when trying to put that good advice into practice in our daily life.

Even the experts can benefit from good advice

Even the experts can benefit from good advice

Whether it is how to improve a golf swing, how to cook a tastier curry, how and why we should stop smoking or give up a drug we enjoy, or how to live a happier, more fulfilling and satisfying life, taking up the advice in such a way as to produce a consistent and lasting result for our personal long-term benefit is without doubt not an easy thing to achieve.

It requires us to alter long-held habits and replace them with a better ones. Our mind and bodies feel discomfort when we are required to change and we sub-consciously resist such change, even if we consciously believe in the benefit we stand to gain.

Awareness of this helps us to overcome the ‘Change Momentum’ (resistance), as does regular conscious effort in the practice of the new habits and, perhaps most importantly to any change, we need to Believe, have faith, that the change is possible, or preferably, is inevitable for us. We need to believe it will happen or even has happened and we just need to ‘catch up’) in order for it to happen, if we don’t believe we will eventually give up and thus fulfill our own doubt.

Bearing those things in mind (Awareness, Practice and Belief) i would like to offer the words of Saul of Tarsus, also known as St Paul as he wrote to the believers of Christ in Rome (Romans Ch 12 specifically).

I am constantly amazed at the various and voluminous wisdom for mankind’s benefit that the Bible contains and has stated for thousands of years, but i can think of few chapters of the Bible that offer a better, more concise method for us to be aware of, practice and believe in so as to live a good and rewarding life.

Anyone can read for themselves St Paul’s words in Romans Ch 12 – it only has 21 verses and can be read in a minute. But that one minute could be the best investment of your time you could ever possibly make.

Here is a translation into point form of the things Paul says:

1. Make your body a living and holy sacrifice to please God. Let this be your form of spiritual service. Give up, surrender, your material body to God and live instead from your spirit body that gives freely your worship of God in voluntary service. Let this be that which guides your material body and not your own ego, your ego must surrender to your spirit, not the other way around.

2. As your ego is created out of and through the things of the material world, renew your mind and transform your thought from this material creation into a spiritual creation, the Spirit coming essentially from God, and prove to yourself that which is good, acceptable to all and is Perfect.

3. God has given to every one of us some degree of strength of Faith and of some particular kind(s). We are not to let this be a source of boastful pride or think we are better than any other, by reason of our particular gift(s) of Faith, but are to think of it/them/us in a sound and fair judgement of ourselves.  (not too great or too little).

4. As our own body has many parts that serve different functions to the benefit of the whole, so too should we recognise that each of us is a different part of the whole Human race and not consider that any one of us is more important to the entirety than any other. We are to seek out our own gifted talent(s) and learn to make the best of them to the benefit, not only of our self but of our species and the planet.

5. The gifts of the spirit are of many varieties, we may have one or many and they lead us in spirit to manifest a variety of works on Earth:(According to 1 Cor 12:8-10,28)Preaching of the Gospel (Apostleship in Faith) Prophecy, Teaching (Wisdom and Knowledge), Healing, Helping(others), Working of Miracles, Discerning of spirits, Speaking in Diverse Tongues (many languages) and the Interpretation of them, Encouragement of those of the faith, Leadership – setting, through example, the way of Christ, and Givers of Mercy.

6. Be Love, but without any hypocrisy, do so without any precondition but give love  totally and freely to all.

7. Reject that which is evil and cling instead to the Good, learn how to distinguish the two in your life, heart, mind and spirit.

8. Develop Charity to all, brotherly love in all honour. Devote your self to this aim in determined spirit, never lagging or ceasing as a service to God.  Do so in the joy of Hope everlasting, through all trial and disaster in continuous prayer and meditation. Practice hospitality to all, welcoming any and rejecting none.

9. When faced with those who would do evil unto you, bless them, return to them Good for evil and wherever possible be at peace with all mankind. Be of like mind one to another, do not consider yourself above anyone but associate with both the poor and the sinner and do not value your own self more than any other, but do only that which the spirit tells you is the right thing to do to all. Rejoice with those who rejoice ( unless it is in the practice of an evil), and grieve with those who also grieve.

10. Never take your own revenge, but leave such unto God as was written:” Vengeance is mine, I will repay” said the Lord. Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good.

For those who have lived long in a more earthly, material mind practicing and believing in those things will not necessarily come easily to you, but if you truly seek to have a contented life come the end, the sooner you begin the transformation into living from spirit and following the above template as your regular practice the greater will be your level of contentment.

Peace to all.

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6 Comments

  1. Blessings brother from afar:)

    Hallelujah! This post has left me almost speechless. You have a great way with words brother, well said.

    To expound on what you said in terms of transformation, it is one of the hardest things a person will face infinitely, but with God anything is possible. When we are genuine about wanting to better ourselves and live in spirit leaning on Jesus is a must. The Bible is full of wisdom and knowledge that will enable anyone success if they really want it.

    Change is awesome because it’s for the greater good, “LOVE GOD=LOVE OTHERS”, it’s such a wonderful journey because God has a great plan for all. Because we are born sinners, and we suffer from addictions, mental and physical abuse, depression, and other disorders, etc, we need to flip the script. The things I just listed are things that we all need to overcome during this transformation and the greatest medicine for it is love. Because they are negative aspects in our lives which keep us from moving forward, during this time we need to make an honest effort to replace them with something positive, yet constructive, such as exercising, meditation, prayer, attending support groups that recognize God, going to church to fellowship and learn, changing our playgrounds –
    -(hangouts and friends), etc.

    Jesus is the one we look upon for all things. The Bible is packed full of Parables, Symbolisms, and Analogies in Scripture. Numbers are significant in the Word of God. Jesus went into the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights to be tempted by Satan. He came out with the VICTORY. The number 40 is imperative to transformation. For example, if you are trying to overcome any addiction in life etc, no matter what you replace the addiction with in a positive way, if a person can persevere through 40 days and nights it becomes them, just as the addiction was before. When a person is trying to implement change in their life they become discouraged because they see no results, thus, giving up before they reach day 40. If only they could hit that number, then they would see.

    Just thought I would share that with you. Have a wonderful day bro!

    God bless you,

    Reply
  2. Greetings to you in far away Kansas my brother, or as we say down here ‘G’Day Mate! ( That’s G as in God not g as in G.I.!) 🙂

    I consider yours to be high praise indeed as i know full well the strength of your devotion to Jesus Christ in whom is our Faith and salvation.

    I am grateful for any thoughts you are willing to share with me even those which we may not see exactly eye to eye, although i have not noticed such a one as yet. 🙂

    The forty days in the wilderness was needed of Christ for His Victory and the 40 days of rain in the time of Noah was needed to change the world from it’s former ungodliness.

    It seems that for rejuvenating transformation 40 days may indeed be the winning formula.

    I intend to work on practicing Paul’s instruction for the next 40 days and am sure if i can stay the course i will be well on the way to a new life in Christ.

    Bless you and those with you Brother, and thank you also. 🙂

    Reply
  3. (Honestly, this is just to poke at you, I have actualy real feedback from your expansive and really, beautiful, post)

    “I intend to work on practicing”, because we are being grammatically correct (I truly apologise for my abdominal grammar earlier, I, well no excuses, it should not happen), I believe the correct Australian/British use of the word “practice” or the verb “practicing” as you use it should be spelled “practising”.

    I am not linguist for sure but I do recall my (LONG) papers being torn to shreds due to my “poor (American) grammar and spelling}”

    Reply
    • It is hopefully a testament to my current philosophy that unlike in times past, i can accept correction with humility and Grace! 😉

      You are perfectly correct – i had forgotten my roots – i meant i would work on practiSing….

      I consider myself duly ‘poked’ and will endeavour to use the correct versions in future.

      Humbly grateful and silently awed at your grammatical gymnastics.

      Reply
  4. Ok.

    Reading this post made me see, so clearly, HOW MUCH my religion, the one I was completely passively raised with (until the age of 12 when in a frantic rush not to be an embarrassment to the family I was sent to Hebrew school, took private lessons, put in both the 12th year and 10th year Hebrew classes in a desperate effort to make up for all those years I did not attend any form of religious schooling – in order to be…. Bat-Miztvah’d) had and has an effect on the way my brain processes things and how Christians, at least those practising Christians think 😉

    Just so much going on in my head. I am actually thinking of going to a group, or attending an event at a shul, not so much because I feel myself to be “Jewish”, but because regardless I do have “Faith”, believe in a superior being and apparently hold a different mindset than “non-Jews”. Hey, maybe that’s where all my like-minded peoples in California are!

    (No way I’m going orthodox.. or anything like that, they would tear me up, just a group of young-ish, middle aged, intelligent people discussing… God and principle and morality etc.)

    Ok, Question time!
    1. Ego = nurture or nature?
    2. “Develop Charity to all” – again don’t know which of the 613 Christians follow but actually the commandment of Tzedakah requires Jewish people to just.. do this. Intention is considered irrelevant, only action. How does this or rather what does this mean about one’s morality? I can only think – irrelevant, it is as you say fighting the ego to obey God’s law.

    Sucks y’all have to “develop it” we just do it because God commanded it 🙂
    3. “We are to seek out our own gifted talent(s) and learn to make the best of them to the benefit, not only of our self but of our species and the planet.” – THIS THREW ME OFF. It sounds so communist. Is religion commie-based?

    (Oh dear of course it is – at least socialist, hence the kibbutz of Israel etc.! what does this all mean and how does it effect the complete HYPOCRISY of American at least for those MOST religious to also be those MOST capitalist?)
    4. “Never take your own revenge, but leave such unto God as was written:” Vengeance is mine, I will repay” said the Lord.” – Do you believe in the death penalty? I do not recall but am fairly sure that Oz does not implement it. The US does in some states. Of course the irony being those of the most religious nature being the greatest supporters of “punishing” others.

    This hits hard and home for me. It is… and often I do not like this about myself or rather find it quite annoying, against my grain to be vengeful or even punish. Who am I to judge? What right do I HAVE to decide and appropriate punishment for any given act? Who gave me that entitlement. Dang I have always been this way and… well I hope it is all for the best.

    -> I do want to make the distinction bt punishment for the sake of vengeance vs in discipline. As adults we must, as part of our parental duties discipline our children. In this case we have earned some “right” to define and shape their sense of right and wrong through both education and punishment.

    Reply
    • I can relate far too well (from my past) with too many things going on in my head and needing time to sort it out and the desire to find others of like mind. ( have only come close to that with people met ‘on-line’) but that’s more down to me i guess.
      Answers – such as i have, take with a grain of salt/ scepticism! 😉
      1. First response: Nurture, lthough experience would suggest nothing is ever simply one or another thing but some mixture of each. Nurture is my first response because i believe we may be born egoless or with a ‘natural’ predisposition towards a certain set of desires/behaviours but these soon become largely subject to the conformation effects of a massive overdose of sensory input with which we are poorly equipped to make much sense of. We are bombarded with previously unexperienced information, a large proportion of which is influenced by our parental and societal ‘norms’. Everything from the food we eat to the bedroom sights we become familiar with to the sounds (language) we hear etc etc. these form neural pathways in the brain that help determine how the brain thinks about various information and data gathering which will in turn afect our logic abilities and reasoning and deduction. When combined with various tendencies every individual has towards biased thinking ( ie confirmation bias as just one example) i’m led to the conclusion that our ego has a larger Nurture component than any predetermined ‘nature’ we might be born with. I believe however that all of us are born with a spiritual ‘nature’, which if we work on overcoming the nurture influences from our birth in this life ( an almost impossible task for most) we may be able to experience and live more according to our True ‘nature’, which i hope and from what i have read is inclined toward siding with ‘God’.

      2. A True Christian, one who actually is and lives in/from Christ ( ie does as the man Christ did and also has the God/Christ within them), as opposed to those who just think they are christian because the believe in a God and go to church or whatever, while still living in and from the material body only, does not follow any of the 613 laws. This is because Christ was seen as the perfect embodyment of God’s Will and was sent to wash away all sin from all mankind who believe. (only those still in sin need the laws to follow so as to live as God would have them do).
      Those who have Christ in them ( by no means all christians!) would be incapable of ‘breaking’ a single law as they would only do God’s will of their own choice. To break a law intentionally whilst ‘in Christ’ would be to do as Lucifer did and the person would be condemned for eternity – a ‘fallen’ angel. No one truly in Christ would choose such a fate for themselves and so would not break the Law, but would live it. – There is a rider though… certain laws, such as the ones concerning cleanliness of the body/foods etc, were designed for those ‘in sin; who had and lived in unclean bodies, by reason of the First man – Adam – we inherited his sin. Christ washed all mankind anew, we become clean when we live in His spirit hence the unclean laws ( for the mortal body) are superceded by the spiritual laws ( for the spiritual body). A christian believes is is not what goes into our mouth that make sus unclean ( in spirit) but what comes out of our mouths – the things we say against God’s Will, lies, deceit, false witness, wrong accusations, etc, etc.

      It’s a bit more complicated than just that but you may get the idea? Live from/under/in spirit, not according to the flesh.

      Christ’s greatest Comandment/Law is to love God with all your heart and love others as yourself. From this comes Charity/Brotherly Love for all mankind ( communism?? hmmm…) not just the ones you like or who think as you do, but everyone equally – respect all others and you will respect yourself and respect God – all three are interlinked. disrespect one you disrespect all.
      What i think it says about our morality is that it is largely a selfish (ego-based, largely flesh-oriented) one for most of us and that ultimately is doomed as a way of living a long and contented life.

      3.
      Unfortunately it seems to not affect the massive Hypocrisy of America at all, indeed they seem to choose to be stubbornly unaware of it mostly 😦

      It is not ‘communist’ to think we are all part of the are species and live on but a single planet and that in order to live a good life we need to bar this in mind at all times as our action affects not only ourself, but our species and our planet home.
      Genesis makes it very clear we are to be stewards of all life – it was given to us to tend for and care about, not use and abuse as we see fit. If we care about it it will benefit us all equally, from the smallest amoeba to the largest living creature, up to and including the planet we call Earth.

      Abusing it benefits only but a few while penalising the rest.

      I abhor the death penalty man imposes on another man. (and not always in correct judgement!)
      In part based upon the 6th of God’s 10 Commandments to His people – Thou shalt not kill – but also because i believe – as the sentence aid – Vengeance belongs to God, we should not take it out of his hands as only He is qualified to judge us concerning life and death.

      Australia did have the death penalty as a punishment until the 1960’s when we realised it is no deterrent – and as even blind Freddie can tell – it is not in America either… and yet……?

      And America claims as a nation to be under God and ‘free’ and so many want to believe that while so many outside America only see the hypocrisy and can but shake their head in wonder and amazement.

      DON’T get me started on Gun ownership – you have been warned! 🙂

      Granted Vengeance and discipline are two separate matters, revenge is born from personal desire to cure a perceived ‘wrong’ whereas discipline should only be to bring about correct action and violence need not be a part of any discipline. (We should never discipline if the urge to do so is from our carnal, flesh body, but instead from our loving spiritual one).

      Sin vs right action.

      How’s that Sound?

      Reply

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