Are you a list maker? There are many reasons for choosing to write down all kinds of information that you want to remember or to process. Lists can help to bring order to your thoughts or to things that other people are telling you. There are no rules for making a list. They can be long or short, on a scrap of paper, in a diary, or in a business memo. Lists can help people to prioritize the things that they want to accomplish or to organize information by category or date or importance. Lists often help to relieve stress and reduce anxiety because the information is not as overwhelming and chaotic. Lists can even help people communicate more clearly as both parties come to understand what the other person’s expectations and desires really are. It has been said that lists are even good for motivation, productivity and self-esteem.
It is not a surprise that when Paul wrote to the Romans describing what their new life in Christ would look like, he made some lists for them. You might say that he wrote a “to do” and a “do not do” list for them to consider. When positive actions are contrasted with negative ones there is clarity and an emphasis that is helpful and energizing. These lists gave to them (and to us) a new and practical way to look at what it would mean to be transformed and to do the things that were good and pleasing to God.
Lists also provide an excellent means of evaluation for people to use when they are trying to determine if they are growing and changing. Are you interested in grading yourself and then starting a new list of character traits or habits that you might want to look at carefully?