Love is God's call for His people. As people loved by God, we are called to love others. I invite you to reflect with me for just a few minutes on Paul's words in Romans 12:9-21.
(Read Romans 12:9-21)
Clearly, love is active, and it requires a change of heart. Earlier we talked about how we cannot love with words or tongue alone, but that love requires action and truth. In much the same way it is not possible to love with actions alone, but love must come from the heart.
Paul says, "Love must be sincere." (v. 9)
Since love comes from the heart, we cannot fake it. I cannot simply give to my neighbor in need, I must also be willing to give myself, my friendship, my heart. Those are the most difficult to give. Yet if love is to be sincere, then I believe that is what it will require.
Paul also says, "Honor one another above yourselves." (v. 10)
In order to honor another above myself, I must have my heart changed. My first inclination in every situation is to honor myself, love myself, make sure I have what I need or want. Yet, sincere love doesn't work that way. Sincere love honors others, even above ourselves.
One of the ways you can see honor being given to others above ourselves, is when we rejoice with those who rejoice! Jealousy is one of the biggest challenges to sincere love. If I can be happy because you are happy, or if I can be joyful because you have succeeded even beyond me, then I know that my love is sincere. It is not easy, but it is what real love requires.
Finally, Paul says, "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." (v. 18)
Peacemaking is love put in action. Living at peace requires sincere love, honoring others above yourself, rejoicing with those who rejoice, etc. Peace is the fruit of sincere love put into action.
Notice, however, that Paul states, "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you ..." Some people will not live at peace with us. That is the reality of living in a broken world. Nevertheless, Paul is saying make sure it is not you that is refusing to live at peace, rather he says, "as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone."
Love is our call as God's people, His dearly loved children, so let us make every effort to love others sincerely and from the heart, as we journey together along the Way ...