For those of you who heard last week's message, you'll be happy to hear that my addiction to the Olympics has gotten slightly better since the swimming events are finished. But if you for some reason want to watch the Olympics with someone, give me a call - the whole Bird family is still quite addicted. 🙂
Here on the blog, we are looking at what a Jesus-follower looks like, and we are using Romans 12 as our template. This week we are going to look at verse 9, which says...
Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.
We talk a fair amount within the Riverwood family that a Jesus-follower should love like Jesus loved, but have you ever thought about what Jesus abhors?
I think it's safe to say that what Jesus/God hates is sin. That's why God's wrath was seen so violently at the cross. 2 Corinthians 5:21 tells us that Jesus, who knew no sin, became sin on the cross. And then God violently killed sin, so that sin might be defeated and we could be forgiven of our own sin.
But to be honest - I don't have quite the same hatred of sin. Sure, I hate hearing about a cold, heartless murder and I abhor the idea of human trafficking. But I don't hate my own sin with quite the same wrath. I'm too comfortable with my slothfulness, or my lack of kind words toward my kids, or lack of attention to my wife's needs.
But notice right before he talks about "abhorring what is evil," Paul writes that we are to let love be genuine. In other words, it needs to be pure.
This means I need to be fully devoted to my wife, not just partially. It means my love for her must be pure, not tainted by love of self. Think about it: it's evil to use my wife for my own purposes. God did not create her to serve me so I can be slothful while she does all the work. To truly love her means to do so without even a hint of sin and selfishness.
But if I'm honest - that's a standard I can't keep. I want to aim for it, but the struggle with my sin is a daily battle. That is why I need to daily preach the gospel to myself - to remind myself of Jesus' forgiveness for my sin and His Spirit empowering me to love others purely.
And when I am being empowered by His Spirit, I will not only love like Jesus loved, I will also abhor what Jesus abhors.
So let me encourage you: please hate the evil in our world. I hope you will not be comfortable with the sin that is so prevalent in our culture.
But may you also abhor the sin that so easily entangles you. May you hate it so you can truly appreciate the gospel and Jesus' love for you. Which in turn will empower you to go and love like Jesus - genuinely.
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