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Love and Death: Romans 12:9-21
March 9, 2012, 12:34 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary:

 “If your enemy is hungry, feed him;

if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.

In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Romans 12:9-21

This passage has long been one of my favorite passages in scripture. In fact, on facebook this passage occupies the ‘About Me’ section of my page. Jesus said He wanted me to take a deeper look into love and life through this piece of Romans. In looking more closely at this passage, I realized that it is a love passage, like the famous love passage in 1 Corinthians. I had always been looking at it as a guide for living as a Christian, but instead it is a guide for how to love. It is practical, action-oriented advice for loving.

This passage is a guide to love out of the lens of discipline. As in, it is a discipline to love, especially in the light of persecution. It also puts a focus on love as an action taken in faith out of a place of trust and security in Jesus. It puts love in it’s right place, as an action by which we exemplify Christ, and not simply a feeling or natural affection.

This passage is like a railway- made of iron and unforgiving to weak flesh. To love like Christ we must be humbled, and not puffed up. We must be depending on God and walking in our spiritual gifts, and we must choose our actions. We cannot stumble upon goodness, kindness or love. We choose to walk that way, no matter what persecution we meet.

There are many chords this passage strikes with my flesh and current struggles. Taking persecution into account, loving this way seems impossible. To bless and not curse when the world is literally against you, is a huge task. This passage requires authenticity of heart and true surrender to Christ’s headship over one’s life. Another problem I found is selfishness. This passage does not allow for selfishness. It calls us as believers to lay our lives down and live life for the blessing and edification of the Body, and not for personal fulfillment. This is a much more ‘us’ mentality than the average American is used to. Another problem is the tension between peace vs offense. When we come up against grievous wrong perpetrated by our authority, how do we lay down offense and take up the peace of God?

In the text surrounding this passage, Paul describes love in light of the law of the land. The people must have been having a difficult time of representing Christ in the face of harsh opposition. So, Paul describes love and the law together. The law is the skeleton, which must not be broken or evaded, but love is the muscles and flesh that spring out around it. We must have the law and worldly authority, but let love be the power, let love be the meat. Finally Paul asks the church to love with urgency and purpose, because the Lord is coming soon.

Sentence by sentence, the directions I pull from this passage are:

  • In persecution you need the church
  • No room for pride
  • No room for discouragement
  • Trust Jesus
  • No room for selfishness, or high walls
  • No room for bitterness
  • Carry one another in your hearts
  • No room for social stratification
  • Love like Jesus and get low
  • Be a walking testimony, represent Jesus
  • Jesus is the Judge who will never forget the wrongs you encounter
  • No room for discouragement

The church could become very bitter, upset, discouraged, or even violent under heavy persecution. Love needs to be understood through the power of the Holy Spirit, Who encourages and strengthens us to live as we ought to live. We will go through nothing different than what Jesus went through. Therefore we should live as a picture of Jesus, even under heavy pressure. We must display the glory of God to the world, and not misrepresent the miracle that Jesus did, and the truth of His kingdom. My church is not under heavy opposition, but sometimes I can feel that I am. I read this scripture, meant for the Body, as personal instructions as I live and work with people who may not have the same goals and values I do.

The implications of this study in my life are to view life and love through much-altered eyes. Growing up, love is what you have for mommy and daddy, who do everything for you and are lovely and perfect to you most of the time. Then love becomes what you have for someone who is just like you. But here, love is the actions associated with displaying Christ, especially to those who want you dead. Love is choosing goodness, devotion to the Body, honoring others above self, zealous fervor for God, joy, patience and faith in the face of discouragement and opposition, sharing and hospitality. Love is blessing in the face of curses, and commitment to living life with one another. Love is not having everything your way, and choosing to hold those dear you may not have ever deigned speak to. Love is patience and faith, and blessing those who kill you.

I respond by dyeing. This passage describes a life fully surrendered. One who loves this way is not living to have as much fun as possible with the funniest people. One who loves this way is not looking out for self-serving opportunities. One who loves this way is valuing the Body of Christ above one’s self. This is talking about living life as if you’re already dead. This is talking about waiting by the window for Jesus to come through the clouds, and in the mean time living every moment as if you already saw Him descending. This is big, important love.

Asking Jesus about this passage, I feel like He is saying, this scripture must be understood along with the passage describing how to be an ambassador for Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:20) This is the practical action going along with the understanding of myself in the role of ambassador. I have been placed where I have been placed for the purpose of representing Christ, and this is how I will represent Him. I will love this way.

I can apply of this passage choosing the peace of Heaven in the face of offense. Often, in the work place, at home, or in friendships I feel misunderstood, misused, over looked or disregarded. My response must be to bless with a joyful heart in the face of that stuff. To respond to the folly of others as if Jesus were poking through the clouds today. To represent Him, and His powerful love even when people tick me off, especially when people tick me off. Humility, honor, trusting in God no matter the circumstances.

My conclusion to the issues this passage brought up is that in the face of grievous wrong, I must die. I must love others, with a strong love, guided not by feelings or personal preference, but by Christ’s example; Who forgave the crowds even on the cross. When Jesus told me I had to do Elevate, He told me to do it because He wanted me to die. This is a step in death, to give up my response to silly people and take up His response. He loves. He blesses. His patience is long suffering. He is hopeful in affliction. He suffers with us. He practices hospitality. He is the One I’m living for, He is the One I want to see me. I want to walk for Him, and to Him and through Him. So in the face of opposition, I must be careful to be kind and do what is right in the eyes of everyone. And by living out of security and trust in Jesus, I will overcome evil with good.

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1 Comment so far
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Amanda, thank you for posting this! May GOD bless you and GOD is pleased with you! GOD loves you so much! You are a beautiful woman of the LORD, Keep running the race, we are almost there and JESUS will help you be more like HIM and putting in practice HIS WORD! 🙂 Love you sister in CHRIST!

Comment by Zaira Rodriguez




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