February is, of course the month of love and with Valentine’s Day falling on a Sunday this year it gives us all a lot of material to focus on. It is difficult to tie down which Valentine the day is named after. It was a popular name at one time and there are a few Valentines in the running for the one focused on in February each year. Of the two main possibilities, they have one thing in common – martyrdom for their faith.
Paul talks of love in Romans 12: 9-21 and focuses on “sincere” love, “devoted” love, hope that “blesses the persecutors”, love that “feeds our enemies”, love that “overcomes evil”, love that keeps going.
This love however is preceded by two other important qualities. This love is connected to our service, which itself comes from a loving attitude (vs 3-8) and from a surrendered life (vs 1-2), which in itself follows those lovely words of the Doxology in chapter 11:33-36
I can’t help thinking though of the importance surrounding the first two verses of chapter 12. Paul calls for a full surrender of the lives of those who love him – that’s a thought! The call to surrendered lives is to the “brothers”. It is a call to fully surrendered and holy living.
So the setting of love follows the Doxology – the greatness of God, which calls us to be fully surrendered to this all powerful God, which leads us to serve him out of love for all, even our enemies.
So before we get too excited about telling our congregations on Sunday 14th February that they should love everyone – including the church leaders, maybe we should examine our own recognition of God’s greatness, consider the quality of our own surrender and desire for holiness, our attitude to service and the motive of our own love for others – including the congregation!