God wants Christians to really love one another. He does not want us to just pretend to love each other and then stab each other in the back; that’s called “hypocrisy” and God hates it (Romans 12:9a). In fact, God wants us to hate all forms of such evil just as He does (Romans 12:b). Instead, we should hang on tight to the things that are good (Romans 12:9c), especially the actions that spring forth from love. What are these love-driven behaviors? Paul tells us in the next few verses. In our love for other believers, Christians should be kind to each other like brothers and sisters (Romans 12:10a), because we are all part of God’s family. We should treat each other with respect and put the needs of other Christians ahead of our own (Romans 12:10b). Loving other Christians is part of our faithful, passionate service to God (Romans 12:11). We lovingly join together with our Christian friends in rejoicing over good things, being patient through suffering, and praying regularly and intensely for each other’s needs and requests (Romans 12:12). Finally, we ought to show “hospitality” to other Christians, especially by helping those who are in need of material goods (food, clothing, help with paying for important stuff, etc.).
In sum, Christians are supposed to be a loving family who consistently look out for one another’s good. The main place where this loving community should exist is the local church. Being part of a church is not just showing up at a service for some music and a sermon. No, the church is supposed to be a family where everyone feels loved and has chances to show love to each other. What about Christian schools or other organizations? Well, these are not local churches. However, if you have the opportunity to regularly be around other believers in places besides your church, then by all means, love them as your Christian brothers and sisters in the ways that Paul describes in today’s passage. I pray we can all have chances to show the love of Christ to other believers every day.
The Text (Romans 12:9-13)
9 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 hospitality.
Questions to Think About
- Have you ever had someone pretend to love you but later betray you in some way? How did that feel?
- Are there any Christians in your life that you have only been pretending to love? How can you repent of that sin and change how you treat those brothers or sisters in Christ?
- Who has shown love to you this school year in the ways that Paul describes in today’s passage?
- How can you do a better job of showing love in practical ways to the other Christians in your church and school?