Living Sacrifice | Romans is a theological powerhouse. Yet, in Chapter 12, Paul gets practical. He fleshes out what it means “to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God” . How do we do this? How do sinful believers live in community? We work at it . What does Paul suggest?
Genuine Love | Paul writes that our love should be “genuine” and “sincere” and “without hypocrisy” . We should seek to be real people to one another and safe people for one another. Transparency and candor, according to Tim Keller, are essential in friendship. He writes, “Real friends encourage and affectionately affirm one another , yet real friends also offer bracing critiques: ‘Faithful are the wounds of a friend’ . Like a surgeon, friends cut you in order to heal you. Friends become wiser together through a healthy clash of viewpoints. ‘As iron sharpens iron, so friend sharpens friend’  ” .
Devoted Family | Paul writes, “Love one another with brotherly affection” . We should have warm and deep affection for one another because we are devoted to each another in brotherly love, with God as our Father  and Jesus as our older brother . We share our joys and sorrows . We are committed to each other. Constancy is another essential quality to friendship, according to Keller: “Friends ‘love at all times’ and especially during ‘adversity’ . The counterfeit is a ‘fair-weather friend’ who comes over when you are successful but goes away if prosperity, status or influence wanes . True friends stick closer than a brother . They are always there for you” .
Hospitable Givers | Paul writes, “Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality” . Our love is not a mere feeling. It meets practical needs. We make soup for the sick, share resources with the unemployed, and open our homes to friends in need. Yes, this may “cost” us. As Keller writes, “When the Bible speaks of love, it measures it primarily not by how much you want to receive but by how much you are willing to give … How much of your precious time, emotion, and resources are you willing to invest?” 
Prayer | Lord, We are your children, made in your image to reflect your glory and redeemed by your Son to walk in the light. As we increasingly become satisfied in your deep mercy, grow our love for one another more and more in authenticity and devotion and hospitality. Amen.
 Romans 12:1 |  See Romans 12:18 |  “Genuine” is the ESV translation, “sincere” is the NIV, and “without hypocrisy” is the NASB. |  See Prov. 27:9; 1 Sam. 23:16-18 |  See Prov. 27:5-6 |  See Prov. 27:17 |  Tim and Kathy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage. New York: Penguin (2011), p. 112. |  Romans 12:10 ESV |  See Matt. 6:9 |  See Heb. 2:5-18 |  Romans 12:15 |  Prov. 17:17 |  See Prov. 14:20; 19:4, 6, 7 |  Prov. 18:24 |  Tim and Kathy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage. New York: Penguin (2011), p. 112. |  Rom. 12:13 ESV |  Tim and Kathy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage. New York: Penguin (2011), p. 78. Although Keller presents these questions in the context of loving a spouse, they are relevant to loving family members as well. How does God call us to give our time and resources to our brothers and sisters? Quite often, sacrificially.