We are continuing in Romans 12. Now that we know we are to be living sacrifice (Romans 12:1), in our right mind concerning how we think, (Romans 12:3) and the purpose is for how the body of Christ is to function in gifts and grace.(Romans 12:5-6) We can see what the outcome of this will be. This section is titled Marks of the True Christian and we will see that this Christian is marked by LOVE.
The 1st thing Paul says about this Christian is that they are marked by love by letting love be genuine. It’s real love that doesn’t have hypocrisy, it’s not wearing a mask or playing make believe with who you are.
Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.Romans 12:9-13
Here’s what genuine love looks like:
- Abhor what is evil – See evil for what it is, a horror! Therefore cling fast to what is good.
- Love one another with brotherly affection. Let your bond of love be like close brothers. Outdo one another in showing honor.
- Do not be slothful in zeal. Don’t be lazy in love or in what you do. Ecclesiastes 9:10 whatever you or hand finds to do, do it with all your might. Let this be your outward attitude.
- Be fervent in spirit. Now this is an inward attitude. Do not abandon your 1st love, Christ himself and do not allow yourself to become lukewarm meaning be either cold or hot. The world desires us to live a life in the gray area. While we may have to navigate many gray areas the scripture gives us right and wrong clearly.
I love that Paul puts these 2 things together. Let’s look at it just a little more. Romans 12:11 do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. So Paul is saying to let your outward attitude be that whatever you put your hands to, to do it with all your might. Give it all you got! And your inward attitude ought to be I will be on fire for the Lord. This is how you serve the Lord.
- Serve the Lord. One of the commentaries that I read said that some manuscripts say that this word Lord is also the same as the word time. Meaning use the present moment to the best of your ability. Don’t be idle or wasteful with your time. It’s short.
- Rejoice in hope. Always remember that we don’t have to worry about tomorrow. Even though we know we will walk through suffering, trials, and difficulty. A good tomorrow will come for God’s people.
- Be patient in tribulation. What we walk through will produce patience in us, it’s character building. Press on.
- Be constant in prayer. Continually turn your everyday activities, hurts, needs, struggles to the Lord and pray for the needs of the saints.
- Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Be of help to others.
If we do these things, when we cling to what is good, we inevitably will overcome evil with good. We will live out the rest of these verses, which to me are all things only God can do in and through me. In our natural selves, blessing is hard when others are unkind and out to get you. Not repaying others in kind when they do you wrong takes a God kind of control of the flesh. To not strike back when struck is not normal to our reflex’s. Helping those who are trying to actively hurt us is only a love that God can give. It’s supernatural.
Romans 12:14-21 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Oh God how we need you!
Thanks for listening,