28th April 2012

The Only Sensible Response – Sincere Love

“Let love be without hypocrisy.”
Romans 12:9 (NKJV)

Paul is instructing us to love in truth, to be sincere in our love.  How can it be anything else?  True love cannot be other than sincere, but love that is not love, love that is just a screen behind which we behave in unloving ways, is not sincere, it is not true love at all!

Love has become a very glib word that is used to convey various meanings.  We speak of loving all kinds of things that are not actually lovable; movies, songs, clothes, motor cars, ice cream.

Love of people is what Paul is speaking of, and he asks us to love in truth, sincerely and without falsehood.  Because Paul instructs in this, it is likely that we do not easily do it.  The biggest problem that we human beings struggle with is selfishness.  Selfishness is the opposite of the love of which Paul speaks.  True love is outgoing, it moves away from the self and seeks to bless others, and this requires a complete change of mind.  Naturally we are the centre of our world, we are ego-centric and everything revolves around us.  Even the good and generous things that we do are often tinged with selfishness.

But Paul encourages us to a different level of love, to a level that truly puts the other first even at cost to ourselves.  After all isn’t that the kind of love that Jesus gave when he walked among us?  His love was demonstrated in the ultimate sacrifice, the giving of himself entirely for our sakes.  There was no hypocrisy here, only genuine outgoing concern for others, in fact, for all others.  This is the goal of our Christian life, to emulate our Saviour in his life of true love.

The apostle Paul encourages this in his letter to the church at Philippi, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.  And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:5-8 NIV)

There is no hint of selfishness here, only true, sincere love.  This is what we should pray for, and strive to live, as our only sensible response to what God has done for us in Jesus Christ.

Father in Heaven, please forgive me for my selfish nature.  Strengthen me in my resolve to emulate Jesus in his selflessness, in his life of true outgoing love for all mankind.

Study by David Stirk

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