23.3 Romans – The Nature of Love

Reading Romans 12:9-13 reminded and emphasized to me that my nature is not a nature of love.  Paul starts with, “Love must be sincere.”  Let’s pause there for a moment and really look at that.

There is no ebb and flow in sincerity.  The definition of sincere is, “free from pretense or deceit; proceeding from genuine feelings.”  It isn’t a sometimes sincerity, other times false.  It isn’t sometimes with pretense other times without.  The sentence is very succinct and clear.  “Love must be sincere.”

That means, when I am angry at a loved one, I can’t fake loving them in the moment of anger.  I can’t love them under the pretense of reconciliation.  I can’t show love to an enemy to get them to bend my direction.  Love must always, in all situations and at all times be completely real and authentic, not only in its delivery, but that it proceeds from genuine feelings.  Not just to select people, but to everyone, including the guy who cut in front of me in line or who honked at me.

That is not my nature.  I freely admit what is so thoroughly documented in the bible, I am of a sin nature.  I want to do what is right, but my emotions betray me.  My heart longs for holiness, but my thoughts turn to evil.

But, the nature of the Holy Spirit, who now lives in me and who, as noted early in Romans 12, I give my life over to, is a nature of sincere love.  Even with all the effort I can muster of my own, I can’t love in this way.  But, this is the natural way for the Holy Spirit to love.  It is how He loves me and accepts me and lives in me.

But, Paul doesn’t stop there, he goes on to note that we are to have a discerning love, as the Holy Spirit is a Spirit of discernment.  We don’t love everything, we love what is good, what is of God, and we hate what is evil, that which is of sin and Satan.  Note that he says to hate WHAT is evil, not that we hate WHO is evil.  Even those who practice evil and wickedness are loved by God.  They are sheep without a shepherd and Christ’s death on the cross was as much for their benefit as for yours or mine.

We accomplish this through the unity of the church.  We, like soldiers, have an individual job to do, we are called to be “devoted to one another in love” as the body of believers, a troop united on a mission of God, equipped by God through the power of the Holy Spirit, led by God in the presence of the Lamb of God, to Love as God loves.

My Answers:

6.
Those who belittle faith, who do not love and harm children. Those who find themselves more important than others

7.
do not take your spiritual foot off of the gas but instead stay strong and devoted to the path God has given for your life.
Don’t compare or whine or feel guilty about not doing things – do them, make them happen, be bold, stay true. Show up!

8.
To be lacking in zeal. I believe. I have spiritual fervor (inner strength), but I am still too timid and not zealous and bold enough in my witness to others. Why? Baggage: avoiding potential client at the cost of others eternal life.

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