The Spirit Filled Believer
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"If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh..." (Rom. 11:14).

The English word emulation is only used twice in the King James Bible - both times by the same author, Paul. He uses the singular form in a very positive way in Romans 11:14, but the plural form in a very negative way in Galatians 5:20.

In the passage in Galatians, emulations (plural) is listed as one of the works of the flesh. The original Greek word used here is zeios (dzay'-los). When used in this context, it refers to hatred, wrath, variance, strife, jealousy or malice, the indignant zeal of an enemy. It portrays destructive energy that should be avoided at all costs.

In the passage above from Romans, emulation (singular) is used in a good sense. The original Greek word here is parazeloo (par-ad-zay-lo'-o). It refers to stimulating another person by example, or to a good-natured rivalry that brings out the best in another person. It also implies challenging or motivating a person to become more ambitious or more aggressive.

Thus, emulation, as used here by Paul, is a "good example." Paul is saying: "I hope my Jewish friends will see something in my life that will stir them to action to become just like me."

You and I can lead lives so full of the love of God that others are inspired to become just like us. In a time when there are few heroes or positive role models, the Lord can cause us to be "exhibit A" of what Christianity is all about. Our lives should make others want what we have.

Source: The Spirit-Filled Believer's Daily Devotional by Dick Mills
Excerpt permission granted by Harrison House Publishers

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