|Romans 12:9-13 (NIV)|
|9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.|
|As Paul wrote these words to the church at Rome, I would imagine that he was dealing with a lot of the challenges that church pastors deal with today, where most of a pastor’s heartaches come from the flock not getting along with each other. Paul’s overriding theme in these few verses is that Christians are to love one another in total honesty. Praising the good and abhorring the evil, but none the less, loving one another through it all.|
|Jesus set the example for us by loving people everywhere He went. He loved the dreaded tax collectors and even had one of them follow Him as a disciple (Matthew). Jesus was falsely arrested and convicted of no crime at all, yet crucified anyway. While on the cross, in pain and agony, disgraced before an onlooking world, Jesus asked His Father to forgive His persecutors. Is it any wonder that the first order of business that Jesus gave attention to when telling us to be sincere in love, is that we stand firm for our beliefs, and to hate evil. Although, I believe that this was included so early in this discourse, so that we might be reminded that although we may hate the sin, or the evil that results from the actions of some, we must never lose sight of the soul and love them unconditionally. I believe that another reason for the attention to the evil in a person, is that if we don’t let the person know that we hate the sin they are doing, then they could easily feel like we are OK with it, or may even love that sinful aspect of them. Friends, if we cannot be a positive influence to a friend for Jesus, then we should examine ourselves for the true presence of Jesus in our lives. Often our friends may be caught in a trap and invite us over, hoping that we could help them through their problem. Imagine how disappointed they must be when we just accept their sinful act and count it as ‘normal’ or ‘acceptable’ living. The rest of these verses gives us tips to look for in our everyday experiences with loved ones and friends. Think on these things as you prepare to visit someone, and ask God to help you love them unconditionally. After your visit, invite God to help you honestly evaluate your words and actions so that you may work even harder on correcting anything that you may have messed up on. Friends, we serve a perfect God, so as we strive to live like He taught us in this messed up and imperfect world, we run into challenges. Seek His guidance and His strength as you deal with others so that you may be a stepping stone in their quest for salvation, and not a stumbling block.|
|Lord Jesus, You loved us enough that You went to the cross on our behalf, even though we were so undeserving of such love. Through Your Holy Spirit, You led us to the cross for Your complete forgiveness and then offered us eternal salvation from our sin. As your children endeavoring to follow in Your example, how can we but love others and understand their struggle with sin? We have been there and done that, and in many cases have the scars to show for it. Please forgive us Lord, and help us to be a forgiving people, willing to love the unloved. May they see Jesus through our actions and in our unconditional love for them, AMEN|
|There are two more pages on my blog that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’. If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please click on the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog could indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and read more, or you may freely to subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. If you are anywhere near the Highlands County, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would be thrilled to welcome you at Bible Fellowship Church, located at 3750 Hammock Rd, Sebring, FL 33872! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!|
As Paul wrote these words to the church at Rome, I would imagine that he was dealing with a lot of the challenges that church pastors deal with today, where most of a pastor’s heartaches come from the flock not getting along with each other. Paul’s overriding theme in these few verses is that Christians are to love one another in total honesty. Praising the good and abhorring the evil, but none the less, loving one another through it all.