If you missed my last post, I just started a series called Behave Like A Christian, the idea being dropped into my head by the Lord. The series is based on Romans 12:9-21. First up is verse 9a. Different versions of this verse expand the meaning…
* “Let love be genuine.” English Standard Version
* “Love without feigning.” Wycliffe New Testament
* “[Let your] love be sincere (a real thing).” Amplified
* “Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it.” The Message
* “Don’t just pretend that you love others: really love them.” The Living Bible
* “Let us have no imitation Christian love.” The New Testament in Modern English (Phillips)
I love those last two, don’t you? Don’t pretend; really love. And no imitation. The Greek says, “Let love be without dissimulation,” meaning without hypocrisy, deceit, or pretense, unfeigned, undisguised.
How do we love God? Others? Ourselves?
Have you ever feigned your love for someone? Ever gotten that cheesy grin on your face, that smirk of fake love? It’s called hypocrisy, being an actor as an assumed character.
Have you ever feigned your love for God? What did Jesus say to the Pharisees? “You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote, ‘These people honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me. Their worship is a farce.’” (Matt. 15:7-9a NLT)
Do we see the face of Christ in others? If God is love and “the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit,” (Rom. 5:5 NKJV) then how do we not see others as vessels containing His Spirit, unless the snarling monster of self raises its ugly head to block our view?
How can we love God and hate Him in others at the same time? Solomon said, “He who despises his neighbor sins [against God, his fellowman, and himself].” (Prov. 14:21 Amp) If we say God reigns supreme in our lives, why are we so unloving to His other body parts? I just don’t get it!
What did Jesus answer when asked which was the great commandment? He said, “‘And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31 NKJV)
On the last night of Jesus’ stay on earth, He told the disciples, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” (John 13:34 NKJV) Do we really think about what that says? How did Jesus love us? Enough to give His life for all. Do we love others with this kind of sacrificial love, with no exclusions?
Paul said, “Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another,” (Rom. 12:10 NKJV) “with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love.” (Eph. 4:2 NKJV)
“Be humble toward one another, always considering others better than yourselves. And look out for one another’s interests, not just for your own. The attitude you should have is the one that Christ Jesus had: He always had the nature of God.” (Phil. 2:3b-6a GNB)
Unfeigned, unmasked, unbroken, unreserved, undisguised, no deceit, no pretense,
all-out, pure love…without hypocrisy. That’s the kind of love I want to have for God and for others.
Lord, may my love for You be so pure, so true, so undivided, that it flows effortlessly out of my heart to encompass all those that cross my path. Amen!