I think this will be my last post on Romans 12:9-21 for now. As a reminder, this is what Paul writes:
Let love be genuine (unhypocritical). Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be conceited. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 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.” 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.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:9-21 ESV)
Once again, notice how the genuine (unhypocritical) love of Spirit-indwelled, Spirit-led believers is described:
- holding fast to good
- loving one another
- honoring one another
- serving the Lord fervently
- giving to needy believers
- being hospitable (loving strangers)
- living in harmony
- doing what is honorable
- living in peace with all
This is how the church of God should live. This description should characterize each believer and each group of beleivers.
Over the last few days, I have been asking myself which of these characteristics are evident in my life and which characteristics are absent. I can look back over the last few years and see where God has grown me and changed me. But, I can also see where I am not living as God intends. Specifically, God is still teaching me how to show hospitality (that is, love for strangers as opposed to love for those who I already know and love) and how to give to those who are in need. Perhaps, most of all, this is showing me areas in my life where I am not submitting to the presence of God.
As Joel pointed out in a recent post, we must begin with a proper understanind of who we are in Christ. I would also add that we should also recognize the awesome power and presence of the Holy Spirit who indwells us and changes us from the inside out.
Beginning with this understanding, I am going to ask you the same question that I have been asking myself: Meditating on the description of the unhypocritical (genuine) love of Romans 12:9-21, where is God still working in your life? In what ways are you not submitting to God’s presence in your life?