We’ve all been on the receiving end of people who say one thing but do another – it’s never fun. Unfortunately, sometimes we’re those people too. That’s why actions speak so much louder than words – behavior opens a window into who someone truly is and whether or not we can trust them. If we want to be people of consistency, who love others the right way, who others can trust, then we have to weigh how our beliefs translate into the way we live. Join us this Sunday for our next message, as we learn together what it means to love the right way!
1. Love the right way.
- Everybody loves, but apart from Jesus, we love the wrong way. Paul says apart from Jesus, we love with hypocrisy, which means we are two-faced. A two-faced love isn’t really love – it’s just pretense, a cheap imitation of what love should be. The love of God never loves evil. In fact, anytime our love for someone embraces what is evil we’re actually loving with hypocrisy.
- God wants to help us love the right way. He wants to do a purifying work in our lives. As we walk with Jesus, we receive his life, which transforms our own. Only in Christ can we love the right way. And love should be the calling card of followers of Jesus.
What does the way you love people say about what you truly believe, and how does God want to match those things up in your life?
2. Follow the verbs.
- Whenever you want to know what God is up to, follow the verbs, both in the Scriptures and your daily life. As you walk with Jesus daily, you can see the evidence of the work he’s up to, even if you don’t see the purpose yet.
- When God works in the world and in our lives, he is also always inviting us to join him in what he’s doing. There are certain behaviors we should demonstrate with our lives when we abide in Jesus. In this section, Paul has a whole list of verbs that signify things God wants our lives to look like. The heart of those verbs is to serve the Lord. In all that we do, we want to serve the Lord.
What do you believe God is inviting you into with the work he’s doing in your life, and what steps do you need to take to do that?
3. To join or not to join – that is the question!
- In this section, Paul again gives us a list of behaviors and groups of people with whom we should either join in or separate ourselves from.
- For instance, we should join in weeping with those who weep and rejoicing with those who rejoice. We should join in with people who are humble and living harmoniously with others. However, we should separate ourselves from the worldly mindset that says we should dish it back to people who hurt us. When someone “curses” us, we should bless them instead. The company we keep in large measure affects the people we become.
Who are the people God wants you to join, and who does he want you to separate yourself from?
4. Be good no matter what.
- In the last verses of chapter 12, Paul tells us that goodness is the way we walk in the world as followers of Jesus. The way we overcome evil is to do whatever is good instead. It’s not the same as works-based salvation – we are not saved by what we do. The Christian message is not, “Do better.” The Christian message is, “Believe in Jesus, and receive his life to transform yours.”
- However, God expects us to do the right thing, to walk in goodness, and to overcome evil with good. That means we have to surrender to the Lord in all aspects of our lives, to not keep any part of our lives from his goodness.
What would it look like for you to surrender your life to walk in goodness in every single circumstance?