Today (week 3 day 3), Jen has us looking at Romans 12:9-21 again.
- She has us choose from a list of original phrases found in this set of verses and then has a cross-reference for a specific phrase for each one. I chose two of the nine she has listed on page 173.
Original Phrase (NIV): Romans 12:9—“[sincere] love”
Cross-Reference: 1 Timothy 1:5, which reads:
“The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart (2 Timothy 2:22) and a good conscience and a sincere faith.”
In other words, when we don’t come at something with the right attitude, right frame of mind from the get-go, then we can be blinded by satan and then do things for the wrong reason, for ourselves instead of God. God is The One who has the purest of all pure hearts.
I sometimes wonder where the world would be today if we did things with a sincere heart. With our hearts in the right place to begin with then the decisions we make would guide us in the right direction instead of our selfish desires.
I think of ISIS and how these truly sick individuals actually believe what they’re doing is in honor of their god. Only, it’s not the love they portend to have is insincere, because their “cause” is ultimately about themselves. They don’t or can’t see this because an all important factor is missing: Jesus. They don’t know Him as their personal savior.
When we truly know Jesus and ask Him into our hearts, then we can find that “sincere love” we all want, we all desire to have.
I look at the footnote at the bottom of the page. It says:
“Most of us have learned how to pretend to love others—how to speak kindly, avoid hurting their feelings, and appear to take an interest in them. We may even be skilled in pretending to feel moved with compassion when we hear of other’s needs, or to become indignant when we learn of injustice.
“But God calls us to real and sincere love that goes far beyond pretense and politeness. Sincere love requires concentration and effort. It means helping others become better people. It demands our time, money and personal involvement. No individual has the capacity to express love to a whole community, but the body of Christ in your town does. Look for people who need your love, and look for ways you and your fellow believers can love your community for Christ.”
I like the verse my Bible cross references with 1 Timothy 1:5: 2 Timothy 2:22:
“Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”
The footnote at the bottom says:
“Running away is sometimes considered cowardly. But wise people realize that removing themselves physically from temptation often can be the most courageous action to take….Remove yourself physically from any situation that stimulates your desire to sin. Knowing when to run is as important in spiritual battle as knowing when and how to fight.”
I think we all naturally tend to want to runaway whenever hard or uncomfortable situations arise, however, this isn’t always the right thing to do. The thing to remember is we should ALWAYS run when it involves the temptation of sin.
As a believer we should always want to run the other way away from sin. It’s just not always easy to do. The temptation of sin can be so alluring that we either find it hard to resist or we give into it in the end.
I started this day’s lesson a few days ago and tried to pick it back up yesterday and today and I got a little lost, I think. So I decided to reread what Jen said to do here.
In the NIV, Romans 12:9 reads, “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.” In The Voice this verse reads, “Love others well, and don’t hide behind a mask; love authentically. Despise evil; pursue what is good as if your life depends on it.”
The Voice says it in a way that has struck me to the core of my heart, my very being. Pursuing goodness as if my life depends on it couldn’t be more of a true statement.
The next verse I chose from Jen’s lists of verses is Romans 12:12—“be joyful in hope”:
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”
“Do not forget to rejoice, for hope is always just around the corner. Hold up through the hard times that are coming, and devote yourselves to prayer.”
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.”
“Since we have been acquitted and made right through faith, we are able to experience true and lasting peace with God through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One, the Liberating King. Jesus leads us into a place of radical grace where we are able to celebrate the hope of experiencing God’s glory.”
Per the note for verse 5:1, it states, “We now have peace with God,… [meaning] that we have been reconciled with Him…no sin blocking our relationship with Him. Peace with God is possible only because Jesus paid the price for our sins through His death on the cross.”
Personally, this all sounds good, but I already knew this. I’m not quite sure anything is even new and profound with the cross-reference in the Bible study. My NIV Bible has the cross-reference of Hebrew 10:32, 36 for “patient in affliction”:
“Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering…. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised.”
“Instead, think back to the days after you were first enlightened and understood who Jesus was: when you endured all sorts of suffering in the name of the Lord…. Simply endure, for when you have done as God requires of you, you will receive the promise.”
I think The Voice speaks more clearly to me. In Romans 12:12, when it speaks of “patient in affliction” or “hold up through the hard times that are coming,” I think of my life as it is now.
I’m “afflicted” inside, yet patience, so not my forte. Of all the gifts God has blessed me with, patience is NOT one of them. This is an area I think I’ve struggled with my whole life. I can get so easily frustrated at what might seem like something minor half the time to someone else (just ask my husband J).
I know God has already been working on me in this area.
Someone once told me that when you pray asking God for better patience, He’s not going to give you some just like the snap of your fingers. Oh, no. He’s going to put things in your life to force you to become patient by learning to lean on Him for help.
But wouldn’t it be so much easier to have Him just gift me this one gift. I feel like I really need easy right about now, but our ways are not God’s ways. He really know best. WE just have to learn to trust this.
I thought I’d had everything written down I wanted to say and then I read the note in my NIV on Hebrews 10:32-26:
“…we don’t usually think of suffering as good for us, but it can build our character and our…” What? You guessed it. “…patience. During times of great stress, we may feel God’s presence more clearly and find help from Christians we never thought would care. Knowing that Jesus is with us in our suffering and that He will return one day to put an end to all pain helps us grow in our faith and our relationship with Him.”
Need I say more. 🙂