Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.
- Romans 12:9
Recite using the acronym:
L L B G . A W I E ; H F T W I G . ROMANS 12:9
Read Full Passage HERE
In such a short verse, these three simple commands may be harder to keep than we often think.
Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil. Hold fast to what is good.
Let’s unpack each command and understand its application to our life.
Command 1: Let love be genuine.
Following verse 9, Paul lists several ways in which we can live out this command.
Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.
- Verse 10
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.
- Verses 19-21
Verse 10 is explained best by Jesus in John 15:13: “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” We love one another with brotherly affection while outdoing one another in showing honor through ultimate humility. Serve without expectation of repayment or recognition. Show honor to others, not by thinking less of yourself, but by thinking of yourself less. Show honor to others by daily asking the Lord to kill your desire to gossip or slander others for cheap entertainment. Ask God to soften and mold your heart till your love mimics the description given by Paul in 1 Corinthians 13.
Verses 19-21 might be an even harder level of love to follow at times than verse 10. We all know how hard it is to forgive and humble ourselves before those who wrong us. Our natural behavior is to resent wrongdoers and have nothing to do with them. We are called to a different response. To overcome evil with good, and by doing so, we will heap burning coals on their head. Who better exemplified this than Christ? The only truly innocent man undeserving of any wrongdoing humbled himself to the point of death on a cross for those who had sinned against Him. You and me. So, to live like Christ, humble yourself and love your enemy as Christ has loved you when you were an enemy of God’s.
Command 2: Abhor what is evil.
We often don’t stand in as strong of opposition to evil as we should. We become comfortable with it; we let it creep in bit by bit until we are tolerant of it. This could be represented in our lives when we allow ourselves to watch a show that celebrates sin. We have become a generation fueled by entertainment and devastatingly become entertained by things of the world, to the point where we don’t even realize it. Maybe you’re someone who has chosen not to watch things with homosexuality but remain watching shows with promiscuity and adultery. This is just one example of an area that can numb our hearts and, without realizing it, cause us to judge one sin over another. This does not only hurt the heart of God because we are fulfilling a lust of our flesh, but it also numbs us to the things of God, and ultimately distracts us from good.
We are called to abhor evil. Not some evil. We are to be a people of love who protect love by hating the things that destroy it. Likewise, we are to love everyone and hate the things that are destroying them. Or, like many say, “love the sinner, hate the sin.” Is this true of you? Or are you more prone to be “entertained by the sin and judge the sinner?” Above all love, strive to do ALL things for the glory of God and leave it to the wrath of God. Hate evil, but don’t avenge the doer of it. Hate the evil, don’t be entertained by it. Love good, and hold fast to it, finding joy in it’s comfort.
Command 3: Hold fast to what is good.
As the broken world around us crashes in on every side, we must hold fast to that which is good and that which is good is from God. Ultimately, we must be anchored and rooted in the word to properly battle the enemy's schemes and find peace in the midst of the storm. We are to learn to use the brokenness and trials to redirect us back to the goodness of God. C.S. Lewis puts this beautifully in one of His most famous quotes, he says, “I have learned to kiss the wave that throws me up against the rock of ages.” We can kiss the wave because we know that God is supremely good and works all things for our Good.
Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil. Hold fast to what is good. Take the time to pray and ask God to create a habit in you that is obedient to these commands. Secondly, ask those around you to keep you accountable. Then, day by day and according to the grace of God, through failure and success, these commands will shape us into the likeness of Christ, who perfectly lived each one out.