Thursday, September 22, 2011

What does a passionate love do?

Photo by Andrei Merkulov, courtesy of
Welcome! I am so glad to see you here in A Good Bible Study! We are soaking ourselves in A Passionate Love: the relationship between God and you. But, what does a passionate love do?

We've begun to search the bible for synonyms of the word "passion." They are sprinkled throughout God's Word like an invigorating spring shower.

I love knowing the passion I have for life, for living, and for loving, comes straight from the heart of God! God is passionate and wants to see you express that passion actively!

You know, one of the first books I read as a new Christian was Paul's letter to the Romans. Some people think Paul's letter is a sort of what not to do, for Christians. I disagree! It reads to me more like the way to live passionately for Christ!

Let's read Chapter 12, verses 9-11. I included three translations so you can really get a feel for Paul's message. These passages follow Paul's encouragement to all Christians, to use the gifts given to each of us by the Holy Spirit.

That's right. Gifts. You've got 'em.

Don't you know when you recognize that Jesus is the Son of God, sent to buy you and me out of slavery to sin (redeemed), and that He not only died for our sins but was raised from the dead just as the Scripture foretold - did you know at that point of sincere belief that you receive the Holy Spirit, as a bonus!?

And that's not all! The Holy Spirit doesn't come empty handed - He brings gifts! And it's our job to put them to use! Read Romans 12:6-8 for a listing of some of the gifts later. For now, let's continue with zeal and passion!

What does it mean to love God, and His children, passionately? Romans 12:9-11 describes such a love: it's love in action! (I bolded the words that mean passion.)
Romans 12:9-11 New International Version (NIV)
9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.

Romans 12:9-11 New Living Translation (NLT)

9 Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. 10 Love each other with genuine affection,[a] and take delight in honoring each other. 11 Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.[b]
Romans 12:9-11     The Message (MSG)
9-10Love from the center of who you are; don't fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.
11-13Don't burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don't quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.

Paul is talking about really loving passionately, self-sacrificially and without hypocrisy! He wants us to mean it. In Romans 12:12-21 Paul continues to get real specific on this passion thing:

 Romans 12:12-21
New International Version (NIV)

12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.
16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.[a] Do not be conceited.
17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”[b] says the Lord.
20 On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”[c]
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

You know, this is kind of a check list:

"What do I do in this situation?" Look in Romans 12!

"How should I respond to this person?" Look in Romans 12!

"What should I do next?" Go to the mattresses! What? No - look in Romans 12! (I admit I have watched You've Got Mail too many times.)

Let's pray: Lord, thank you for giving us something specific to get our teeth into. Sometimes I just want to know what to do! Romans is that answer. Give us insight into our situations today, and into the people we meet. Help us to love passionately, sincerely, and actively, in Your name, as Your representatives. Amen

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