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Daily Devotional Romans 12:9–21

How do you distinguish between true and fake love? A quick internet search provides plenty of advice. Your love may be fake if you are the only one initiating contact. Or, if you can never rely on the other person. Maybe they won’t acknowledge you in public or resist making plans with you. They express love with words but fail to follow through with actions.

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.


This month, we are looking at how we can obey the greatest commandment to love God with our heart, soul, mind, and strength. The second greatest command—“love your neighbor as yourself”—goes hand-in- hand with the first. Romans 12:9–21 focuses on our love for people. The way we love others is a testament to how we love God. When we love God well, we become a conduit for His love to pour out on other people.

This passage may seem like an interesting but random series of directives, gathered under the heading of “love must be sincere” (v. 9). It almost serves as a thesis statement. “Sincere” means genuine and lacking in pretense. Sincere love is not for show and is not self-serving. Paul goes on to give several concrete demonstrations.

In verses 9–13, he calls the sincere believer to a high moral standard (v. 9), selfless devotion (v. 10), zealous and tenacious faith (vv. 11–12), and a generous posture of giving and hospitality (v. 13). These acts of love build unity (vv. 4–5).

In verse 14, the focus shifts to how believers should respond to unbelievers who persecute them. “Bless” means we ask God to bestow His kindness. “Curse,” of course, is the opposite. Paul calls his readers to humble harmony (v. 16)—even with their enemies! We are to resist revenge and retaliation (vv. 17–19). Peace should reign (v. 18). Paul challenges us to “overcome evil with good” (v. 21).

Go Deeper

How does loving our neighbor connect to our love for God? What does this type of love look like?

Pray with Us:

Lord, we marvel at Your wonderful teaching about love in today’s reading! Instill in us a desire to be “joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” (Rom. 12:12).

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