Love must be sincere (Romans 12:9a)
There are several lists of spiritual gifts in the New Testament. There is no set list. They are all different, as if to emphasize that we all receive different spiritual gifts and no one gift is better than another.
The list of spiritual gifts which is most often quoted is in 1 Cor 12. Paul famously concludes this list with,
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge… And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love (1 Cor 13:1–2,13.)
Sincere love is selfless love.
Here in Romans 12, Paul again highlights the pre-eminence of love by ending his spiritual gifts with it. However, Paul is doing more than this. As in 1 Corinthians, Paul is telling us that all use of spiritual gifts must be exercised in a love that is sincere. Sincere love is selfless love. It is the love of Jesus.
God does not accept fake love: love for self-serving reasons. There is too much of it in the world. God does not accept our service to others when it isn’t done in the sincere love that comes from heaven.
Go and find a mirror and stand in front of it. Consider your reflection in the mirror carefully. To what extent do others see your true self. As you stand there, let that lead you into prayer for the Spirit of God to continue to purify your heart.
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