Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction,faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Romans 12:9-16
How do we renew our minds? How do we transform the Church into a people that loves the world well?
Some say when we change our thinking, it will change our actions. Yet, often the opposite is true. Because when we change our actions, it actually changes our thinking.
Most Christians have heard they’re supposed to “be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2). But if you ask people how to experience a renewed mind, you’re apt to hear hundreds of different answers. Yet, the Bible doesn’t expect us to guess. Scripture explains exactly how to renew our minds.
First, the apostle Paul reminds us that no one can do the Christian life on their own. We are relationally connected and we need each other (v. 3-8). Then, Paul spends the rest of the chapter listing the kinds of actions that will transform our thinking.
Romans 12 reminds us to put our love into action. For Christians, love is a verb, not just a feeling. We don’t simply think our way into loving actions. Rather, we act our way into loving thinking.
When we take action and put love into practice, it transforms us. We experience the feelings of love most powerfully when we take loving actions. It’s the practice of love that transforms the Church and changes our world.
If we want to experience God’s “good, pleasing and perfect will” for our lives, then we must put love into action (v. 2). Our love “must be sincere” (v. 9). Our God is love, and as the children of God, we must be people of loving actions.We need to love the people of this world better than the world loves them. We need to love with the heart of Jesus.
Admittedly, it’s difficult. Surely we can’t do it on our own. We need God’s help. But that’s also why we practice—we practice taking loving actions so we become a people who love extremely well. This is how God changes our hearts and minds to be filled with love. This is our transformation; our renewal.
What if you actually loved people with the heart of Jesus? What action can you take today to put his love into practice?
By Patrick Meyers