Romans 12:6-21 – “Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; 7 if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; 8 or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; 11 not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, 13 contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing 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 be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. 17 Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. 19 Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord. 20 “BUT IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM, AND IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP BURNING COALS ON HIS HEAD.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” NASU
Back to our discussion of God’s Guide for Life as found in this passage. Last time we highlighted some of the aspects of the Gifts and their Usage. Today I’d like to delve into the next verses beginning with verse nine and consider some of the applications we are admonished to adopt into our lives and ministries.
LOVE – Complete Love God’s Way.
In verse nine we are brought face to face with the repeated admonishment in Scripture to Love and here it gives an interesting addendum or addition. We are to love without hypocrisy. Hypocritical Love? What in the world is that? He is contrasting hypocritical love to genuine love, not theoretical love or loves out of necessity or obligation. He is speaking of Agape. That is the Greek word for love found in this passage. It is love that loves regardless of external influences or stimuli. It is allowing the Love of God to flow through us to others. I suggest that kind of love is far rarer than we care to admit and most of our love is conditional and dependent, at least to a degree, on “what’s in it for us.”
In this love, we are to abhor evil. The word used in the Greek is “apostugeo” and means to detest utterly. I have contended for years that too frequently, we in the Church, and in our individual lives do not truly detest and abhor sin as we should. We have become anesthetized by modern television, the internet, interpersonal relationships, and a society that has become far more tolerant of sin than is healthy. We are, too frequently, not disturbed by nudity on the screen, simulated sex acts, profanity in the movies or in life, and the various lifestyles that God calls abominable. I lament this in my own life, that I have been guilty of not abhorring sin to the point that I shun the very appearance of evil and turn the TV off or walk out of the movie theater or away from a conversation that is base. We are to receive anyone who is willing to come but we are not to be a part of the world. There is a place and time to ‘come out from among them and be separate.’ We are admonished to be holy because He is holy. No, I am not saying, become Pharisees but sin should break our hearts.
We are to Rejoice with those who are rejoicing and Weep with those who are weeping. In simple terms, we should be touched by the blessings and troubles of our brothers and sisters in this life. We are not islands and what affects you does affect me in the sense that we are part of the same body. Therefore, if you rejoice I can share in your joy and if you weep I can offer comfort in your sorrow.
We are to “be of the same mind toward one another”. What does that mean? Let me offer this and you evaluate it and come to your own conclusion. In Barnes Notes we read, “A literal translation of the Greek will give somewhat a different sense, but one evidently correct. “Think of, that is, regard, or seek after the same thing for each other; that is, what you regard or seek for yourself, seek also for your brethren. Do not have divided interests; do not be pursuing different ends and aims; do not indulge counter plans and purposes; and do not seek honors, offices, for yourself which you do not seek for your brethren, so that you may still regard yourselves as brethren on a level and aim at the same object.” The Syriac has well rendered the passage: “And what you think concerning yourselves, the same also think concerning your brethren; neither think with an elevated or ambitious mind but accommodate yourselves to those who are of humbler condition;” compare 1 Peter 3:8.
It would seem that the Golden Rule is at work in the heart of this admonition and the directive to “be of one accord or agreement.” If I consider your situation in the light of how I would feel or respond I am far more likely to be empathetic or sympathetic to your plight or embrace your blessing as a wonderful thing from the Lord. I will not become envious or jealous but will, with humble heart give thanks to the Father from whom comes all gifts for His blessings on that person.
I want to discuss this just a bit more and will pick up with verses 16b-21 in tomorrow’s devotional. Until then, may the rich and bountiful blessings of our LORD be upon you and may your day be filled with gladness and no sadness.