As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. (John 13:34-35)
As we conclude the section in Romans 12 on giftedness, verses 3-8, I’d like to make one final comment. It is clear in what Paul says here, that gifts that are given are to be used. Notice the repetitive words, “let him,” and specifically in verse 6, “let him use it.”
Spiritual gifts are not given to you for you to enjoy or be proud of. They are given to you for you to use in ministering to others. In other words, we are to find ways to do what we are gifted to do. We are to be wise stewards of what has been entrusted to us.
If all of us in the church did this, the church of Jesus Christ would make a profound impact on the world and we would see the church grow, not only in numbers but also in maturity. And since God is the giver of these spiritual gifts, He would receive the glory.
But all of this will not happen unless we are motivated by love. It’s interesting to note that the three portions of the Bible that explicitly talk about spiritual gifts all make reference to the importance of love. The love chapter, 1 Corinthians 13, is right between two chapters that deal with spiritual gifts. In 1 Peter 4:8 love is introduced at the beginning of a discussion on spiritual gifts. And here in Romans 12:8 love is again introduced.
Love is important in any and all relationships if they are to be healthy and fulfilling. This is the distinguishing mark that Christ identified in John 13:34-35. It is also to be the distinguishing mark in marriage and family. Since I am married, this is a good reminder to love my wife as Christ loved the church, and my children and their families as well.
Can others recognize that you are a Christian by the love you show to others?