Lists

Paul opens his Letter to Christ-Followers in Rome with greetings (like any thoughtful letter writer) and then jumps into his spiritual formation teaching.

First, he hits lust. Following what in English is rendered as an entire paragraph on that topic (it must really twang his chord), he proceeds to list a number of bad ways people behave and bad emotions people allow to control them.

I thought, “Hasn’t Paul pulled out this list of bad things in other letters? Does he dwell on these thoughts?”

But, wait a minute. He also writes many lists of good things. Lists of how a mature follower of Jesus, someone living with God in the Spirit, lives.

Paul likes lists.

We can remember lists. They make for a simple outline for teaching or presenting. I do that when I’m preparing a speech.

Beginning each day with a list of things I need to do today helps focus the day. I can tick off each item accomplished. That’s a good feeling.

A little list of the characteristics of the life we want to lead reviewed early every day also helps point to the better path for focusing today. Maybe instead of giving vent to some frustration at someone or something, there is a reminder of the type of person someone living with God will act.

While reading the New Testament, pay attention to lists. Writers don’t compose them accidentally. They have put thought into them. We should repay their work by also putting some thought into them.

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