Love: Sincere

Love: Sincere

Sister Miki Terayama - 26 June 2022

Weekend Devotion: Love- SIncere

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Romans 12:9-12 says “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” 

Sometimes, when I read this verse, it still feels like a cut to my heart because love is a big word and our intentions can take on many different directions. When I look at my kids, I can see that innocence and purity in the way they express joy, anger and love towards each other. But as we grow up, we know that it changes. We become better and better at pretending. We can pretend to love others, speak kindly, avoid hurting people’s feelings, and even appear interested in what others are talking about. And this maturing “skillset” can even go on to make us look like we are moved with compassion when we hear someone in need or affronted when there is injustice. It is almost like a mask that every adult will learn to create and put on for different sections of our lives. 

But here, God calls to mind for us to be real and sincere in our love, be apart from our pretence and politeness. Lest we become more and more accustomed to the trappings of a pretentious faith living, from the outward to within our hearts. And to be honest, with a spiritual conscience, the Holy Spirit will help us be aware of areas we have fallen short in sincerity of love. Like with our family members, at work, in school or even in church. So what are the areas or with whom are you used to putting on pretence? 

Now as it says in the verse to “be devoted in love”, sincere love requires concentration and effort. The main intention is to point people to God and gradually let them be ministered by the community of Christ. So, it demands our time, our energy, our resources and personal involvement, which is a total opposite side of pretending to love because that is on the surface, we can quickly brush commitments off and focus on our own concerns, right? And many times, we may justify that God has not given us the heart to love this person right now, so we will just wait on it or let someone else who is more “loving and spiritual” do it. But brothers and sisters, let us be wary of self justifications when it comes to loving others. The truth is, we may not feel or desire a certain way, but God commands us with the way we ought to feel. Just because at this moment we are reasoning out why it is so difficult for us to love, does not mean it changes God’s truth. God commands us to “rejoice in the Lord”, “to weep with those who weep”, “to give thanks”, “to repay evil with good”. God has a command for us in different seasons and His commands remains for what is good for us to do, despite our rationalisations. Thus, we have an accountability for what we do with our convictions as followers of Christ. 

Then verse 10 goes on to give us a tough one, “Honor others above yourselves.” Now we can honor others in two ways. One is with an ulterior motive. Like we want our boss to recognise us so we honor him. We want our colleagues to help us with something so we honor them. Then there is also honoring others with love. As believers, we honor people because they have been created in God’s image and they each have a purpose in God’s plans. So we should pray to gain more perspective of how God sees this person and not by our own judgment or intentions. Now for the competitive ones, this might be exceptionally hard but why not try to outdo others in showing honor instead of other things? Put others first and you will start to see many of your bitterness and load melting off into a God-pleasing and assuring joy. 

Now sincere love is a lifetime of a lesson for all of us. So to really keep ourselves on our toes and steer clear of pretentious love and faith walk, what can we do today?

Romans 12:1-2 says, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Here, Paul reminds us that before we can offer up love that is pleasing to God, we require a renewal of our thoughts. We cannot use our old ways to love someone, to judge a person or to face our hurts and disappointments. But how can we not when that is our present reality? As the verse said, we have to be in view of God’s mercy. We have to set our eyes on a bigger reality and that is God’s truth above all our own thought patterns and feelings. What does God call me to do in my roles? What is my intention when I show care to another? What is the root reason that I cannot love this person? How many times have God shown me mercy and that He would call me to do the same for someone else? How does God want me to minster to this person? What would I be doing if I am not giving my time to show love to this person? These are some of the many questions we can reflect and help us set our minds right again, on God’s intention and direction for us with our relationships with people around us.

Brothers and sisters, sincere love does not just flow in to us at the snap of a finger or a sudden spur of determination. It requires a lot of prayer, wrestling, submission and inward renewal, time and time again. But know that when we do not just leave our hearts be, but acknowledge, heed and pursue the sincere love towards others, we are not only showing an outward display of faith, but a transformation brought forth by the Lord and His truth. This propels us to even more genuine and meaningful relationships with those God has placed around us. As 1 Peter 1:22 says , “Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.” God bless. 

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Miki Terayama
miki.terayama@gmail.com

Miki is a full-time ministry staff at The Blessed Run Ministries. She is a sister who shares a natural, God-given affinity with children and youths. She is married to Randy (NET Group Youth Leader) and has two little ones of her own, Liora and Jude. She is involved in the children, youth and social media ministries.

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