“Let love be without hypocrisy…be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another.” – Romans 12:9-10
Romans chapter 12 is a journey into the practical knowledge of, and life in, the will of God. God really does desire that we know His will and do it. Knowing God’s will, as I have written, involves letting God have your body as a sacrifice of worship (12:1), and letting God renew your mind through transformation (12:2).
But what are the natural, practical results of surrendering your whole self to God? What difference will that make in your everyday living? Is there an undeniable link between knowing the will of God and doing the will of God?
Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Paul shares (12:9-18) several expectations which should surface in the lives of those who are surrendered to God’s will. I cannot say that I have “arrived” in any of the areas that Paul mentions, but I am aware of God working in my life in each.
The first expectation Paul mentions is: being surrendered to God’s will mean being loving in relationships. Love is the natural outgrowth of a right relationship with God through Jesus Christ. It is the “badge” of a real Christian. John 13:35 says, “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
If we know and intend to do the will of God, we will love without hypocrisy. Insincerity poisons love. It is the very way hypocrisy is manifested. Have you ever said, “I love them but I don’t have to like them” – that’s hypocrisy!
If I am not careful, I will create my own version of love. Love with my own guidelines and preferences is not God’s love! God is not in that! His love is unconditional. If I am to know and do the will of God, I must love unconditionally.
Love is an action word. To “be kindly affectionate to one another” means we do something. Love is not a matter of talk (1 John 3:18). God’s will demands we act towards others in a loving way.
Love is not selfish. Rather than being focused on our own needs, we should, “in honor give preference to one another.” It’s all about others. Jesus modeled this when He explained His ministry to the disciples: “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).
If you and I are surrendered to the will of God, we will be loving in relationships. My love for God will be reflected in my love for others. This is how knowing is linked with doing the will of God.
How is your love life?