How Do We Love Sincerely?3rd October 2017
9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need.Practice hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another.Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. -Romans 12:9-18
The Bible’s way of talking about love has always baffled me. In a world where love appears so superficial, insincere and obligatory, is this really love at all? The Truth points us to a different picture of love. Love who lays down his own life in your place, one who takes the place of a servant to wash your feet, one who kneels in the dirt and later stands up to say ‘Where are your accusers? Go and sin no more.’ Love who waits unexpectedly at the well to offer the broken, sinful soul living water that she may never thirst again. This Love is Jesus.
How do we love sincerely? Just as the root of sin is losing the taste for God’s goodness, the root of love is treasuring the goodness of God, with all of our hearts, souls, mind and strength. When this is the root of our love, giving becomes easier because we look to the cross and remember that our Saviour gave His life for us. Honoring others above ourselves becomes easier when we remember that Jesus humbled himself to become a servant, the washer of our feet. Cast our minds back to the forty days in the wilderness, Jesus was patient in affliction. In the dreaded moments in the Garden before Jesus was taken away, he was faithful as he uttered the painful prayer “May your will be done and not mine.” Romans 12:9-18 is not merely a to-do list, it is the visible fruit of walking by the Spirit, treasuring God’s word above all else and being transformed into the image of Jesus, it is the visible fruit of sincere love.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. -Galatians 5:22-23
Food for thought: how many of the fruit of Spirit can you identify in Romans 12:9-18?