Romans 12:9-18: Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.
10. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11. not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;
12. rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer;
13. distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality. 14. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.
17. Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men.
18. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.
Romans 5:5: Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
I think one of the most important things for us as Christians to remember is that the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. The King James translation of the Bible says the love of God has been shed abroad in our hearts. We need to fully understand what this means and to yield to it in every aspect of our lives. When we fully
yield to the love of God, that means that we let love rule us, not our flesh.
How many times have you heard someone say, “they disrespected me” or “she/he really hurt my feelings”? I think these are true statements, in our lives everyday, we are treated with disrespect or people either intentionally or unintentionally say things that hurt us.
The difference should be how we respond to these actions.
Let’s look at several verses from our above text.
Romans 12:14,17-18: Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 17. Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.
We are to bless those who persecute us. We are not to repay evil with evil. This is very important, we will face persecution because we are Christians, however we will also face situations in life that are not faith persecution but hurtful worldly habits that hurt and scar us. Rudeness by family members or friends, tacky remarks by people, gossip, temper tantrums at work or in public. We will even experience rudeness and disrespect in public arenas such as shopping malls and traffic.
How you respond to these situations will be your beacon. Do you yell back at someone in traffic when you get cut off or nearly involved in an accident? Do you become short tempered with the sales clerk over some issue, or has someone said something hurtful about you at work or church? All these things give us opportunity to react in either a positive or negative way. It is up to you, as a believer, to yield to the love of God in your heart and put a positive spin on things.
Paul tells us in verse 18 to live peaceably with all men. This means do not react but act in love. Stop and think about how your reaction will be perceived. Will your actions reflect Jesus Christ our Lord? It is very important that everything you do or say be a light that reflects the Lord and not you. Can you look back over the past 2 weeks and remember times you reacted rather than acted in love. If so, repent, ask God to forgive you and if you need to ask for forgiveness from others do so. Do not let anger and strife rule you, but let the love of God rule you.
Let’s look at some other things Paul tells us in our text.
Romans 12:9-10: Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.
10. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;
Other translations states, let love be sincere, or without hypocrisy. Walking in love toward others is hard. We think we are doing it and then, oops! We are gossiping. How many times have you commented on someone’s hair, dress or action? Gossiping in not an action of love, no matter how simple or true the statement is it is still gossip. Christians should not at any time be involved in gossip!
We need to abhor what is evil. How many “R” rated movies have you seen in the last 6 months? How many of them promote sex, nudity or partial nudity, or take the Lord’s name in vain. What are we reading or watching on television? We need to realize that the world does not abhor evil, (anything that goes against the ways of God), but welcomes it. We are to abhor it.
We are to be affectionate to one another, giving preference to one another. Unfortunately, this is something we as Christians do not do. We may show affections willingly but do we show preference to one another? Do you rush to get the best parking space or seat at Church, do you give your seat to an older person, honoring them?
One of the saddest things I saw, was an event at a Church several years ago. A well known speaker was speaking and it was a very small church. The Church leaders had devised a plan to seat people to maximize the space giving people a chance to hear this wonderful speaker. Instead of church members entering the building in line and following directions, they pushed and rushed around people and the ushers, becoming angry when asked to return to line and sit where designated. The sad thing was, these were professing Christians, church members, acting like sinners at a rock concert. They were only thinking of themselves and what they wanted, which was to be up front near the action and not what would be best for others. We are to show preference to others.
In line with this thought is another verse.
Romans 12:16: Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.
Associate with the humble, people who truly love God, who show it in their actions, who put others first and themselves last. Do not be wise in your own opinion. One translation says it this way, “Don’t think you know everything.” Do not be a “know it all”, in you job, your family and in your Christian walk. We all can learn from others everyday. Not being a “know it all” and giving preference to others goes hand in hand. If you act like you know it all, you will run rough shod over people, disregarding them and their feeling. You cannot do this and show the love of God. It will not work.
This leads us to another point.
Romans 12:11-13: not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13. distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.
How are you serving the Lord? Are you doing your job at work unto the Lord with excellence or are you a mediocre employee? Do you go out of your way to complete tasks assigned to you and then find more to do, or do you do just enough to get by? Do you get to work on time and stay over if needed or are you late and always leave on time? Do you volunteer to do extra if needed or do you quickly look the other way when asked to volunteer? We are to set an example for others at work, we are to do our job to please God and no one else. Can you honestly say, “God is pleased with my performance at work”?
I know I have worked hard to improve in my job, but I still have a long way to go.
Are you patient in tribulation? This is a hard one. When things are going bad, when we are under great strain and attack spiritually, physically and financially, it is so easy over a long period to become discouraged and loose focus. We are to be strong, stand fast and trust in God. This is the real test, and many times it is hard to pass.
How is your prayer life? Are you steadfast in prayer? So many times we are satisfied with a quick prayer in the morning and before we go to bed, generally full of our needs. But look at your prayer life, there are many instructions in the word teaching us how to pray.
All of the Gospels give us the example of the “Lord’s Prayer.” Jesus prayed this prayer in response to His disciples asking Him to teach them to pray. It is a simple outline to teach us how and what to pray daily.
Psalms 100:4: Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
When you enter God’s presence don’t just start out listing your needs, spend time worshipping Him. We are to enter His gates with thanksgiving, spend time thanking God for what He has done in your life. Praise and worship Him, showing your love and awe.
It doesn’t have to be a long drawn out event, but can be very meaningful to your prayer life.
1 Thessalonians 5”16-18: Rejoice always, 17.pray without ceasing, 18.in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Here is a New Testament example given by Paul of the same information. Practice this in your everyday life. Pray without ceasing, stay in God’s presence daily. It will help you “Behave like a Christian.” It will make a difference in your life and allow you to be the beacon that draws others to Christ.
The Olive Branch