Love Outstanding, Outstanding Love

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.  Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.  If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’ To the contrary, ‘if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another.” Romans 12:9-21; 13:8

The ‘offered’ body of Romans 12:1-8 becomes a daily life that is expressed in outstanding love to God and others. In view of God’s mercies, we live and breathe mercy. In grasping His immeasurable love for us, we extend that selfless love to others in His name and attitude and strength. His very life applied to ours in turn makes ours a vibrant reflection of His divine and generous attributes. The One Who laid down His life for us works this love in and through us, compelling us to lay down our will, preferences, goals, time, for others. (1 John 3:16)

Swedish red metal Heart on iron gate, Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia

Cleansed and released from every other debt by Jesus, who bore all our sins and their penalty on the cross, we are free to focus our days on the one outstanding debt left: that of loving one another. In practical outworking, we are to love genuinely, lavishly, selflessly, motivated by a clean, good heart. Our love is to be affectionate, fervent, generous, consistent, sympathetic, humble. To prefer others, to outdo others in showing honor, to choose peace and not cling to rights, to care and expend myself more for others’ good than my own, to, with joy, exercise patience and bless my enemies, these are antithetical to the way of the world, but the magnificent mark of a Christian. (Psalm 32:1-2; 1 Peter 2:24; 1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

Is this kind of love even possible in our day of heightened, inflamed sensitivities and protection of self? Of course, because it is His. Rooted in His love for us, we can love in and with the energy and will of the Lord Jesus. All is a fulfillment of His call, all an exclamation of His glory. (Philippians 2:13; Colossians 1:29)

Remind me daily of my debt to You, my Savior. With all I am, may I with great vitality and glad determination love as Jesus loves, palpably caring and spending myself for others.

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