Romans 12:9: “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.”
I have been meditating Romans 12 for some time and each time I think of “cling to what is good,” I am struck by the reality that today we tend to do this less and less. We would do well to have a “cling wrap” approach.
Romans 12 is filled with rich and practical truth. I believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God, and the way this verse is laid out is no coincidence. The words “Cling to what is good” come right after “love must be sincere. Hate what is evil…”. I believe this is God’s order since we cannot cling to the good without sincere love and a hate for what is evil.
Our typical approach to what we do and say, is the opposite of what this verse commands us; as a result we fail people in general as well as ourselves. Here are some things this verse has taught me.
1. LEARN TO LOVE YOURSELF
I believe that if we learned to love ourselves, we would be more effective in our daily lives and in our expression towards relationships in general.
In Romans 12:9 we are commanded to love sincerely, which means free from pretense and deceit; in fact the Greek word for sincere is the word anupokritos, which literally means without hypocrisy.
Ironically, we are in the middle of a presidential political campaign and all political candidates claim to be the real deal, sincere, honest and just the picture of righteousness.
Stepping on soap box here–but just because we have the ability to express ourselves on social media platforms, does not give us the right to bash candidates and people who don’t see it like we do, in the name of choosing the most “religiously focused” candidate. The answer to the issues in America and this world is and will always be Jesus — stepping off soap box.
While there is in fact no one righteous in this world (Romans 3:10) this does not give us the license to not love others with sincerity, even if we disagree on issues or don’t like our own selves because of our glaring imperfections. It’s a cop out to think we can only love those we agree with. When we learn to love others sincerely, we will experience, I believe, a joy that transcends fun and laughs, it will be a joy that will come from the realization that it is the love of God that compels us to love others and not based on whether people are nice to us or if they believe the same way we do.
2. LEARN TO HATE EVIL
There was a time when believers had a clearer delineation of good vs. evil based on biblical truth. Well, the lines have blurred and we must fight the temptation to relegate this truth to some place where only radical or classical/traditional beliefs exist.
The word for evil is not the same word kids might use if we fed them brussels sprouts or tell them to go do their chores. The word hate is a synonym to the word abhors and evil can be defined as something that causes us to shudder with horror. These are strong words and God’s advice to us is to not only stay away from evil, but any form or appearance of it. (1 Thessalonians 5:22)
God is not just asking us to turn a blind eye or shrug our shoulders over issues that we do not personally consider to be evil. Evil in the Bible is never a subjective thing, it’s not just what we consider to be evil, because one’s interpretation differs from another’s. Evil exists in this world, there is no doubt and all you need to do is watch the evening news. We must steer clear of evil, so much so that the best approach is to hate it. 2 Timothy 2:22 tells us to run from evil desires; Joseph knew what that meant when Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce him. If we learn this, it will spare us much heartache; so hate evil and avoid it like the plague.
3. WE NEED A CLING WRAP APPROACH
We will find it much easier to cling to the good when we learn to love others and ourselves because love is the glue that allows us to cling to the good. That means we stop looking for the fault in others as well as in ourselves. It means we stop comparing our lives to someone else’s Instagram feed of perfection, only to come up short. Trust me things are not always the way you see them in nicely edited snapshots.
The key also is to cling TO, not just flee away from. The word cling in the Greek (kollao) means “to glue together, fasten or cement, to join one’s self to.” We are to glue or join ourselves to what is good.
One day a teacher of the law called Jesus “good teacher” in Luke 18:18-19, to whom Jesus responded that only God is good. Friends, there is no better way to say it, God is good and it is imperative that we glue ourselves relationally to Him, His Word, worship and the like, because He is good.
Staying close to God is the safest place to be. Some say we should not be so heavenly minded that we are no earthly good, but being heavenly minded is not a bad thing, in fact that quote may be wrong. Why? Because the Bible actually commands us to “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things” in Colossians 3:2. I would rather be heavenly minded and be no earthly good than being so earthly minded that I’m no heavenly good.
It’s a matter of priorities so I will chose the cling wrap approach. I choose to be close to the Father and love Him, my fellow humans and myself. As much as it depends on me, I choose not to be overly suspicious and choose to see the good in people. I definitely have not arrived, but I am making progress. As Joyce Meyer says: “I’m not where I need to be, but thank God I’m not where I used to be. I’m okay and I’m on my way.”
Are you loving God, yourself and others the way we are commanded to? Are you believing and clinging to what is good? Choose the cling wrap approach; it will be worth the effort.
Davide has a unique communication style that has given him a platform in the marketplace to use his “get the job done” skill set.God has instilled in Davide a passion to equip the body of Christ through teaching, mentoring and speaking life through experience and wisdom of years.He is deeply passionate about pursuing and cultivating the presence of God. He currently lives with his wife of 31 years, Lois in Charlotte, NC. They have 3 amazing children with their married spouses.