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. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Romans 12:9-13
When I read this passage in light of the previous few verses that includes spiritual gifts, it reminded me of Paul’s words to the believers in Corinth (see 1 Corinthians 13). Paul concludes – it is wonderful and amazing that God has given every believer a spiritual gift to accompany His Divine calling, but if our primary motivation is not the love of God, then we have missed the point (for the love of Christ compels us – 2 Corinthians 5:14). This means that it is Christ in us living through us as evidence by the agape love of God which supersedes everything. If we are not genuinely moved by the love of God, then we are a just a clanging cowbell that the world is either annoyed by or never hears. It is His love in me shining through me that matters most. This does not mean that our gifting and calling are not important – they are. Instead, it means there is a higher calling of surrender and intimacy with God that manifests itself in the expression of His love through our lives that ultimately defines the quality and vitality of our faith and His grace. Let me say it in another way. While our gifting and calling might have influence upon another person’s life; it is the love of God in me living through me that will have the greater impact on others for the cause of Christ. It is His love in me and not my gift that makes the difference.