Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:9-21)
Do you believe that a full and healthy life of service to the Almighty Father is obtainable through the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the love and strength of Jesus Christ? I do.
Because of this, I thought we should take some time to read through the checklist outlined in Romans 12:9-31. It is a breakdown of how we (as Christians) are called to live and love in Jesus Name. As you know, DW's ministry is all about godly love and encouragement, so I thought it would be good for us to pause and focus on each guideline mentioned within these verses.
You see, I am convinced that God's love must be adopted by His people. We are called to live a very particular way while giving Him all glory and honor. To love God first, we are responsible to follow-through and choose His path in order to enjoy the fullness of His grace and presence. These points in Romans show us how to live properly in our new life in Christ. They are not for a later date or time. They are meant to be followed today... right now. It all starts here - with us turning to Jesus and following His call. This is the day! So, let's no longer conform to the patterns of this world. No, let's embrace the process of transformation, ladies! WOO HOO! How exciting!
Today, I will address the first two points taken from verse 9.
1. Love must be sincere. To be sincere means to be free of deceit, hypocrisy, or falseness. It means to be genuine, real, unadulterated, unimpaired. (I'm especially considering this word "unimpaired". For how often do we allow Satan's schemes to impair our judgement? How frequently do we impair our spiritual vision with the lusts of this word? And how do these choices impair our ability to love in a godly manner?) As Christians, we are to straightforwardly share God's love with one another and live out what we believe both truthfully and without pretense.
2. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Simply put, evil is the absence of God. And not only is the absence of God immoral, but it is physically and spiritually harmful and can cause injury to us. Why? Because we were created, fashioned, made exclusively to be close to God. We are meant to glorify and relate with Him all the time. To be at our healthiest is to live in communion with our Creator. So, why did God allow evil in the first place? Well, if God had not allowed for the possibility of evil, mankind would be serving God out of obligation and not from our own free choice. If you wished to be loved by someone, would you want it to be out of obligation? Not me. I'd want to know they loved me because they chose to love me - not because they were forced to. Our God loved mankind enough to create us with that same free will to choose or reject Him. He did not want us to live in His presence as “robots” that simply did whatever He wanted them to do because of some divine-ruled “programming.” No, He shows His genuine love for us by allowing evil to exist so that we can serve, and love, and glorify, and enjoy Him by our own free choice. True love supports freedom. Mind you, God still knows in advance who will choose Him - for He is God. But irrespective of His omniscience, He gives all men the opportunity to accept or deny Him as Lord. Yes, God is true goodness. He is morally excellent, virtuous, righteous, holy, reliable, worthy. And whether men acknowledge it or not, His goodness is what we all desire in our life. To hate what is evil and cling to what is good is to cleave to God's way and hate what He hates. As His children, we are to seek and share with others this sincere, godly love while forever pursuing a life adherent to God's law.
I hope that you will think on these things and apply these practices in your new life today. Tomorrow, we will continue this series. Please come with a heart of prayer and make time to meditate over what God's word says throughout this entire passage.
My ongoing prayer for DW's ministry, is that we will each love and encourage one another to choose God first and follow-through by committing our ways unto the Lord every single day. He is good, ladies! He is soooo good!
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