9 Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. 10 Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. 11 Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.
We are instructed in Romans 12:11 to serve the Lord enthusiastically, this verse deals directly with the “who and the how” of serving.
The “Who” are we serving is the first question that we have to deal with, because while it is important to be enthusiastic, if our service is misguided then no matter how much enthusiasm we give to it, it will be misguided. So how would you answer the question “who are you serving?” Is it the Lord?
If we want to fire a rocket at a target it is important that it has fuel (plenty of enthusiasm) but it is also important where it is aimed. If we fail to aim at the target then no matter how much fuel it has it will always miss. Some of us don’t lack enthusiasm we just lack the Lord. We are enthusiastically serving but it’s not the Lord we are serving.
The second question flows out of the first and deals with the “how” of serving. If Jesus is the answer to the “who” we are serving then we have to answer the “how”. How am I serving Jesus, is it with enthusiasm? Am I excited, is my service to Jesus passionate? Unlike those who are missing the target by serving something other than the Lord, we are the missile on target but with no go, we have a little fizzle but no fuel. Has your serving become indifferent and lukewarm? Has something stolen your passion for Jesus?
When we are serving Jesus with enthusiasm we will:
- LOVE SINCERELY
“Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them”
Enthusiastically serving Jesus means not just go through the motions of love but really loving. Is your love for people real? Or have you lost your passion to love others? Christianity is not a religion but a relationship that is real. Religion is the imposter, the fake that puts its energy into pretending to be instead of really being. Is your love genuine? God loved me so much that He sent His Son…He really loved me, not with a pretend love but with an excessive love that held nothing back. When we lose our passion for serving the Lord our passion for people falters too and it becomes easier to just fake it, to put on the mask and play the part. But love must be sincere, it has to be real. Do I love others sincerely, honestly and genuinely?
- HATE WHAT IS WRONG
Real love draws lines and has convictions. The hard truth of Love is that “It is impossible to love without hating.” Doctors that love to bring health hate disease, the firefighter that loves to save people hates fire. Psalm 97:10 “You who love the Lord, hate evil.” When we stop hating sin we start losing our zeal for the Lord. The true test of spiritual love becomes whether we will choose a holy walk.
- HOLD ONTO WHAT IS GOOD
Unfortunately many people only become defined by what they hate and not what they hold onto. Conviction does not just hate evil but also loves good. If you were to fall overboard into the sea and someone threw you a life line it would do you little good to just hate your situation if you did not also hold onto the life line. We need both hating and holding, if you did not hate your situation you would not hold onto the life line. We no longer hate sin and slowly over time we don’t seem to mind living lives overboard in the relentless battering waves of sin. We no longer care to cling to what is good, instead we are holding onto the broken debris of anger, bitterness, unforgiveness and the hurt from our past shipwrecks. Yet these are not what will keep us afloat and so we drown as our passion for serving Jesus slips below the unyielding waves. You can’t hold onto something without first letting go of something else. What are you clinging to? What do you need to let go of so you can cling onto? Are you holding on or have you given up? We live in a very broken world where it is sometimes hard to see the good but when you see the good in others do you cling to that good? Do you commend that good, do you compliment that good? Hating and holding both require energy and unfortunately many of us have lost our passion so we hold onto the hate and let go of the good.
- HONOR OTHERS
Love is not real if its affection is not genuine and real love will always show up in the way we treat others. As Christians, conviction is our position but affection is our disposition and we need the balance of both.Taking delight in honoring others means making them more important than “me”, it means dealing with my selfishness that wants to make things about me! Honoring others means focusing on them and holding them up as important. It means asking the question “what can I do to help others?”
Who am I serving, is it Jesus? Am I serving Him with enthusiasm? Or have I given in to the temptation to have a lazy faith. How am I putting feet to my faith and actively serving the Lord?