This week I attended homegoing celebrations for three individuals who have crossed my life’s path, touched my heart and spoken into my life in ways that I am most grateful for. As I consider the gift of each person and how they poured into my life, I am overwhelmed by the tremendous power that love wields in our lives during both triumph and tragedy. As we walk this journey and explore how we can truly have “Love for a Lifetime” I am even more convinced that we can only achieve it by being willing to share the love of God with every person He sends our way.
In Romans chapter 12, Paul pleads with us “to give our bodies to God because of all He has done for us.” This call, to give all of who we are to God by loving others as He has loved us is an act of worship that has the power to change both our lives and the lives of others. I love this chapter because it teaches us to not look at others or ourselves without the lens of love as given to us by God. It charges us to be humble, appreciate what others bring to the table, bless those that persecute us, be happy with those who are happy, mourn with those who are in mourning. In other words, God wants us to accept people at whatever point they are in their lives and genuinely love on them with everything that we have!
My favorite verses are 17-18: “Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.” In our love relationships this is what we must reach for. Too often we lash out at people who have hurt us and make vows to ourselves about what we will or will no longer do. We find ourselves acting out with war like strategies that destroy and kill the self-esteem and honor of others. We get angry and hurtful because people have disappointed us by not being who we think they should be! This is not what God has called us to do!
Today I encourage you to live and love honorably so that your legacy in life and in death will be that you did everything you could to be at peace with your spouse, children, family, friends, co-workers and yes…even your enemies! Now that’s LOVE!
Research – Romans 12
Relate – What parts of this scripture is the Holy Spirit really speaking to me as areas I need to work on?
Respond – Pray specifically for the Lord to bless those who have persecuted you. Speak blessings over that person and their family.
Reflect – What love relationships are most damaged because you have paid back evil with more evil? What gift of love can you begin to share with others? (See verses 6-8)
Discussion Question – In this chapter there are several verses which God asks us to be honest in how we think about ourselves (v.2-3, 9, ) why do you think this is important in our love walk?