June 24, 2016
READ: Romans 12:9-21
Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them (v.9).
I doubt that any word gets tossed around in our world with such frequency and flippancy as love. It’s common for us to justify selfish behaviour or whitewash actions harmful to others all in the name of some weak notion of ‘love’. Too often our actions performed under the guise of love have nothing whatsoever to do with the reality of it.
The apostle Paul challenges all of us who follow Jesus to “let [our] love be genuine”—to let our love actually be love (Romans 12:9 rsv). And if we need to know specifics about what genuine love actually looks like, Paul is happy to provide them:
• Resist everything evil and cling to everything good (v.9).
• Try to outdo one another in showing love (v.10).
• Follow God’s way of love, and exhibit it with enthusiasm (v.11).
• Have great joy and confidence in the hope that love provides (v.12).
• Don’t fight suffering, but endure it with patience (v.12).
• Cling to the confidence that our loving God hears our prayers (v.12).
• Come to the aid of those who are in need (v.13).
• Bless those who seek your harm; don’t seek revenge (vv.14,19).
• Join others in grief as well as in joy (v.15).
• Practise peace with everyone, even difficult people (vv.16,18).
• Don’t think too highly of yourself (v.16).
In other words, for Paul, love wasn’t some vague, gooey, sentimental emotion. Rather, it was God’s energy in action. Love requires sacrifice. Love demands our commitment and requires that we lay down our own best interests for the wellbeing of others. God’s love helps us grasp the fullness of Jesus’ teaching and provides what we need to display His way of living in the world.
365-day plan: Mark 1:16-39
Compare the list in Romans 12 with Paul’s description of love in 1 Corinthians 13. What are the similarities? What’s different?
Look back over the list from Romans 12. Are there specific ways you sense the call to real, sacrificial love? How have you experienced the reality of God’s love?