Let love be without hypocrisy.
Abhor that which is evil. Cling to that which is good.
In love of the brothers be tenderly affectionate one to another; in honor preferring one another;
not lagging in diligence; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;
rejoicing in hope; enduring in troubles; continuing steadfastly in prayer;
contributing to the needs of the saints; given to hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless, and donâ€™t curse.
Rejoice with those who rejoice. Weep with those who weep.
Be of the same mind one toward another. Donâ€™t set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Donâ€™t be wise in your own conceits.
Repay no one evil for evil. Respect what is honorable in the sight of all men.
If it is possible, as much as it is up to you, be at peace with all men.
Donâ€™t seek revenge yourselves, beloved, but give place to Godâ€™s wrath. For it is written, â€œVengeance belongs to me; I will repay, says the Lord.â€ Therefore
â€œIf your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in doing so, you will heap coals of fire on his head.â€ Romans 12:9-20 (WEB)
Paul began this part of his letter to the Romans by reminding me that my life and how I live it is my act of worship. Worship is not just what I sing or pray inside a sanctuary but, in fact, how I live my life after I leave that building. Now Paul continues with some specific instructions for living my life. Simple instructions…not easy instructions.
Love is to be truthful. No â€˜faking itâ€™. That connects with manipulation with me. When my relationship with someone has â€˜an agendaâ€™ and my love has many, many â€˜hiddenâ€™ strings, then I am hypocritical.
Most of us know â€˜rightâ€™ from â€˜wrongâ€™ in our lives. Some have suggested, rightly so, that a good â€˜testâ€™ is to ask the question: Would Jesus sit and watch that TV show with me? Would Jesus enjoy the conversation around our table? Would Jesus want to join us on our date? The â€˜other guyâ€™, the evil one, hangs out where Jesus does not!
Part of the gift of encouragement is the ability to give affection in the encouragement. I think without true affection the encouragement would be hollow. Iâ€™ve said before that for every prophet we need 6 encouragers. Paul speaks in such a joyous way about what the Fellowship of Believers is all about. It is taking what we have learned about building a relationship with Jesus from Jesus and applying it to each other. It is choosing to be with each other and treating each other with respect and honor. It is being there in good times and also in times that are long and difficult. It was a personal lesson to me when my son died a few people (counted on one hand) were there to pray and listen and be there in numerous ways. God used them powerfully in healing and encouraging me to continue on. There were many people who were absent. Was I disappointed? Yes. But more, I was sad that they missed the blessings that God was giving so extravagantly. They missed Him.
Paul was aware that within the Fellowship there would be those who would be all that God was making them to be. There would also be those who would be destructive. The judgment of who was who was only His. God takes care of that. Knowing that is so â€˜freeingâ€™. I can just let God be God and for my part, I just ask Him to bless the person in whatever need they have. God knows. As I grow up, I learn from Jesus how to give to those who have produced pain or destruction. To offer a blessing to someone who would be seen as an â€˜enemyâ€™, is an opportunity straight from the Fatherâ€™s heart.
How will I worship my LORD today?
Please pray for our men and women in the armed services that are around the world and our local men and women who protect and serve. See you back here on Tuesday.