Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Romans 12:9-10 (NIV)
What does real love look like? How do you know if you sincerely love other people? Is it enough to have a loving attitude without taking any action? I’m not sure how to answer these questions. Why is that? I’m not sure that I have loved others sincerely. In fact, I’m pretty sure that I haven’t loved others sincerely. What makes you think that? Those words “be devoted” are staring me in the face. I’m not sure how devoted I have been to serving others. Are you kidding me? Can’t you see how much of your time and energies are being devoted to serving others? It looks to me like you are devoting your life to serving others. Really, it does? Yes, it does.
Look at how much of your life is being spent in service to others. Would you say that you use a little bit or most of your time in service to others? I don’t want to take credit or pat myself on the back. I know you don’t want that. You have just the opposite problem. What’s that? You aren’t encouraged by the fact that you are devoted to serving me and others. Your devotion to me and others should bring you joy and peace. Instead, you have this false guilt that you can and should be doing more. I will ask you to do more for me. You can be sure of that. But, I don’t want you to carry false guilt that you haven’t done enough. Do you know what this false guilt will do to you? No, not really. It will discourage you and make you want to give up and quit. You will lose the peace and joy of being devoted to serving me and others. Your work will become hard labor that you will not be able to sustain. Guilt induced hard labor is an evil that you must hate and reject. Love motivated devotion to me and others is a joy to be welcomed and savored. This kind of love and devotion will lift you up and encourage and strengthen you to do even more for me and others. But the desire to do more will not come from guilt or a sense of obligation. You can’t make yourself to be lovingly devoted to serving me or others. That is something that I will do in, for, and through you. I’d like that. Yes, I know.
My love is going to do a new work in you. How is that? I want you to grow in the way that you honor others above yourself. You may have noticed that I have already been teaching you how to take a step back so that others can take a step forward. Yes, I’ve noticed. I want you to encourage others in their love and devotion to me. I want you to show others how they can be devoted to serving me. I want them to see you honoring others above yourself because you are devoted to serving me. There is one more thing that I also want others to see in you. What’s that? I want them to see the joy and peace that is yours because you are lovingly devoted to serving me. Will you allow me to do this work in and through your life? Yes Lord, I will. That will be very good.
Lord, I will hate what is evil and hold on tightly to what is good. I will pursue the life you have called me to live. I will devote all my efforts to loving and honoring others deeply from my heart. Use all my thoughts, words and deeds to bless the lives of others. Amen
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