Friday again and time for a new memory verse. Just like my blog topic I’ve been letting God bring the right verse to the surface at His time. There’ve been a couple of Friday’s when I have been wide-eyed and worried because nothing arrived but Saturday morning there’s the verse. He is good and I can always trust Him to have perfect timing.
This morning as I read Romans 12:9 the whisper came. I was a bit reluctant at first because I’ve had three verses from Romans already this year including two from chapter 12. Yes, I know, I’m an idiot sometimes! Here’s the verse.
9 Love others well, and don’t hide behind a mask; love authentically. Despise evil; pursue what is good as if your life depends on it.
Wow! What a verse! I talk a lot about love, I am aware of that and I can’t do anything else because God is love and that’s the defining fact of my relationship with Him. He loved me first – before I loved Him and He so loved the world that He gave and He keeps on giving. He commands me to love too, those two great commands to love Him and love others. I have to do it authentically, without hiding who I am, without pretense, without fake smiles and hypocrisy. That’s the greek root of the word in this verse – anypokritos – unfeigned.
This isn’t some happy clappy feeling I slap on in the morning hiding the truth inside that I am sad, desperate, angry. It’s not a serious face that I disguises the fact that I am a joy-filled exuberant Child of the King. It is real. It is true. It makes me vulnerable. It’s absolutely against what the world teaches because it leaves me without any protection from words, mockery or attack – any protection that is apart from Him who is my fortress and shield. I wonder how different life would be if we all lived like that – looking for and offering truth and honesty in our relationships, accepting and offering care and hope instead of putting up barricades or pretending we have it under control.
Despise evil. A lot of translations say hate evil but I prefer despise evil because it’s more of a ‘doing’. We say we hate a lot of things – that song, that band, that colour, that food, Despise has a deeper level. The word Paul used can be translated as – dislike, abhor, have a horror of. I love the Message way of putting it:
Run for dear life from evil;
hold on for dear life to good.
Despise evil, run for dear life from it, abhor it, detest it utterly. Then run after what is good, chase it, glue or cement yourself to it because you need it to live, to live properly as God intends. I don’t like spiders if they stay quiet on the wall away from me then fine, but once they start to move I run, far away and I am not coming back until they are gone (or, at least, I can’t see them). THAT is how I should feel about evil. Keep it far away from me, I will run to another room or building or space to stay away from it. Run to that strong tower. There is no way I could do what those idio… people on TV do and let a spider crawl on them, THAT is how I should feel about evil.
Good, though, that I should be running towards, like a child to an ice-cream van, or a child to their mum, an artist towards new paints, me towards the latest book in a series I love. Enthusiasm, desire, longing, need.
An excellent well-chosen verse – but what else do I expect from a God who loves me?