By Brooke Holt
“Let love be genuine.” Romans 12:9a
Think of the people in your life who make you feel loved, genuinely loved. You love spending time with these people, and you leave them feeling better than when you greeted them. Their love builds you up as a person.
Then, think of people in your life who may say nice things to you, but those things don’t resonate with your heart. Or you later hear they said very different things about you when you were not present. You may term these people “backstabbers”.
The Apostle Paul is familiar with both kinds of people – those who love authentically and those who put on a good show. In fact, the term used in the Greek reads “love without hypocrisy”. In Paul’s day, the word hypocrite referred to an actor on the stage. Because they did not have the abundance of actors/actresses we do today, one person held up a mask and switched to others based on the role being played.
When it comes to loving people, Paul says we should have one mask. Keep it simple, real, and authentic. Do not say one thing in the presence of someone and something different behind their back. Love must be consistent. The love of God for you is steadfast and unchanging; therefore, you are to love him, as well as his people, consistently.
Judas was an unfortunate example of hypocritical love. When Judas brought the chief priests and elders to arrest Jesus, he kissed the one whom they were to arrest. Judas put on a show to greet and love Jesus while his motivation was to betray Jesus.
True love flows from the inside of you to the outside. It is what motivates you to pray for your children, to forgive your spouse or another close friend who has hurt you, and to sit alongside a grieving friend. Love empowers you to act on behalf of those whom you love.
Genuine love is an outworking of your faith. In John 13, Jesus taught the disciples, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35). You have no greater witness to Christ than your genuine love for God and his people.
Is your faith reflected in your love for others? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Let's face it, the Christian life is hard. Relationships take work. Christians forget. Sometimes it is tempting to go back to the days when God was not the center of our lives - to backslide. We are all faced with tremendous pressures to drift away from intimacy with Jesus and the community of the Church. However, the Lord invites us to pay attention, to move forward, to draw near, and to live lives of worship. Draw Near: Hebrews on Christian Worship is a small group Bible study on the Book of Hebrews intended to lead participants into a deeper intimacy with the living God in the context of New Testament worship. Draw nearer to God in authentic worship today!
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