Father, today with the help of the Holy Spirit, may I pray sincerely and praise you joyfully.
Read Romans 12:9–21
Love in Action
9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.[a] Do not be conceited.
17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 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,”[b] says the Lord. 20 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.”[c]
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectThank God and pray for those with whom you can really open up. Is there someone who might need you to do that for them?
The word ‘sincere’ in verse 9 derives from a mask worn by an actor in Greek theater. Paul insists that any gap between mask and face, between talking the talk and walking the walk, simply won’t do; love must, literally, be ‘without mask’. Offering our gifts as a living sacrifice means, Paul insists, we cannot be actors who pretend when it comes to love.
Paul illustrates what sincere love looks like in verses 9b–13. In the original, all these examples are in one long sentence. Throughout these verses, Paul’s stress is upon us being ‘without mask’. We are to be what we profess without exception. And where there is a gap, to refuse to be condemned but seek the Spirit’s power, so that the gap will close (Romans 8:1–4,12–17). Then we can burn even more brightly in the Spirit as we serve the Lord (v 11). It appears that Paul’s focus shifts from the church to the world, in verses 14–21. Yet the call is still to a similar integrity, being genuine in our empathy (v 15), doing all we can to live in peace with others (vs 16–18) and refusing to seek to get even with anyone, trusting God for vindication (vs 19–21).
How does this description to be ‘without mask’ challenge you? Ask the Lord to show you the masks he would have you put aside.
Heavenly Father, I need to put on “belt of truth” (Ephesians 6:14) daily. I pray that what I project to others will be a true reflection of who I am in you.
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