9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Romans 12:9 NIV
The word “sincere” in the original context means “to be without wax.” The idea was taken from how some pottery and other works of art would be made cheaply and therefore develop cracks more easily. To keep the imperfections from showing, the artisans would use wax to fill in the gaps. Of course, this would fool some people but when the heat was on, the wax would melt away.
As I’m writing I’m reminded of The Karate Kid. You know, the whole “wax on, wax off” teaching. I wonder how many of us need to wax off? It may be difficult to believe but the crazy wonderful thing about God is that for some reason He delights in using imperfect vessels to do His work. Not sure? Check out 2 Corinthians 4:7.
What does being sincere look like? If you’re a little lost on love these days, here’s a G.P.S. to help guide you to a more sincere kind of love.
It’s real. Authentic. Not fake. A genuine love for one another cannot be fabricated. It will ooze out of our pores and flow from our hearts. Like a geyser it will burst forth from us in real and natural ways. Genuine love for people will come as a result of a genuine love for God. It is impossible to love God without loving people. To some degree every lover of God will develop a desire for people, to love them, care for them, and see their needs met. As we spend time with the Great Lover of our Souls, we will become a better lover of other people’s souls and it will be sincere and natural.
Sincere love seeks truth and helpful direction for others. It doesn’t criticize and tear down but instead builds up and edifies. Listening to our words and the way we handle people will reveal how sincere our love is. Use your words to encourage and instruct. When speaking the “truth in love” make sure it is because you love the person, not just being “right”. Often we mask our motives in “love” and pierce the hearts of others. When dealing with hard-headed people, pray for them first. Be positive and uplifting and you may just find the wax melting away from your heart and theirs!
Sincere love is not always calculated or orchestrated in its affections. There are moments when sincere love may express itself in tears or heartfelt appreciation. Sincere love may be manifest in giving gifts or random acts of kindness. When the notion hits us to move or act for the kindness of another, we should. This is sincere love at it’s finest. Love is not always thought but it is always felt. When you feel it, act, even if it doesn’t make sense. Love seldom does.
How do you try to “wax on”?
How do you respond when the heat is on?
Are there some gaps that are exposed that need to be filled by Jesus and His love and grace?
How could being vulnerable enough to expose some of your weaknesses and struggles encourage someone else to be real with God? Furthermore, how could that realness you show lead someone to believe that God has purpose and hope to hold out to another?
George Lockhart is the Youth Pastor at New Vision Church in Fayetteville, GA and the President of Vision 2 Hear Ministries. He has served in youth ministry for 23 years and travels as a missionary to students worldwide.