Let Love Be Genuine

>> Sunday, March 27, 2011

Romans 12 provides us with one of scripture’s clearest pictures of practical Christ-like living. We see scripture’s exhortation to live a life marked with action. I believe a healthy understanding and practice of these things help us “put to death” the old self and actively “put on” the new self, helps us in the practice of “setting our minds on things above”, helps our transformation by the “renewing of our minds”, helps us to “do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus”.

Here is what scripture teaches us in Romans 12:9-13:
  • Allow love to be genuine
  • Utterly detest evil and hold on to what is good
  • Love the body with brotherly affection
  • Excel in showing honor
  • Activate zeal and show intensity in spirit in service to God
  • Rejoice in hope, patient in tribulation, constant in prayer
  • Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek opportunities for hospitality

I'm convinced as I read Romans that Paul's call to "let love be genuine" has everything to do with the vertical, that is our condition of love toward God.

That's not to say that our expression of love toward others is not important - it's actually the contrary - but it is to say that our condition of love toward God is of the utmost importance.  By "condition of love" I mean that place where the object and the intention of love come together.  In order for our expression of love toward others to be genuine, we must be genuinely intentional toward the object of our love.  In this is a key factor of living the godly life - we must always be intentional toward God in our living.

I love how Oswald Chambers puts it (much more eloquently than I ever could)...
"If what we call love doesn’t take us beyond ourselves, it is not really love. If we have the idea that love is characterized as cautious, wise, sensible, shrewd, and never taken to extremes, we have missed the true meaning. This may describe affection and it may bring us a warm feeling, but it is not a true and accurate description of love... There are times when it seems as if God watches to see if we will give Him even small gifts of surrender, just to show how genuine our love is for Him. To be surrendered to God is of more value than our personal holiness... We should quit asking ourselves, “Am I of any use?” and accept the truth that we really are not of much use to Him. The issue is never of being of use, but of being of value to God Himself."

Charitable service expressed toward others can only be genuine and of perfect use if it is an outflow of our genuine condition of love toward God.  Chambers equates 'genuine love' with 'surrendered service'.  Only when we are completely surrendered to God can we find ourselves able to express genuine love.  Genuine love is not measured by how intent and purposeful our actions are toward others, it is measured by how perfectly and completely surrendered our souls are toward God alone.

To surrender to God means a complete demolition of our selfish ambition.  Surrender to God is a full denial of selfish values.  Surrender to God is a collapse of our personal kingdom.   Our successes become "Christ alone".  Our satisfaction becomes "Christ alone".  Our self-worth is found and valued in "Christ alone".
"I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."  Galatians 2:20 
"But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ.  Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.  Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.  Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."  Philippians 3:7-14

Genuine love toward God is a result of intentional surrender to Him.  It means our identity is found in God alone.  When we become intentional in our surrender to God, our love becomes genuine.  This is not attainable by any means apart from total surrender to Him, and it is essential to Christ-likeness.

Want to know if your love is genuine?  Is it centered around self-ambition?  Is it entrenched in the mire of mindless duty?  Or, is it about finding value in surrendering fully and perfectly to God.  I can say with certainty that if Paul had not attained it, I haven't either - but I press on.

Even well-intentioned ambitions fall short of satisfaction when they are not rooted in total surrender to God.  Oswald Chambers said it best - "To be surrendered to God is of more value than our personal holiness."

I want to be found faithful to God.
I want to find value in my surrender to Him alone.
I want my love to be genuine. 

aiming to surrender,

:: Other posts in this series on "Christ-Likeness" from Romans 12 ::


Post a Comment

Thank you for visiting, reading and giving thought to my thoughts...please leave a comment, I love to read 'em ::


Powered by Blogger.

  © Blogger template Webnolia by Ourblogtemplates.com 2009

Back to TOP