The Ripple Effect

Read: Romans 12:3-21

Let love be genuine. (v. 9)

One of our kids’ favorite summer activities was dropping rocks in the still waters of Prentiss Bay on Lake Huron’s north shore of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. We’d find large rocks, throw them straight into the water, and watch the ripples travel far beyond the initial drop. That’s how Paul envisions the effects of a life transformed by the Holy Spirit. Romans 12:1-2 invites us to present our bodies as living sacrifices of worship to God. This plunge into a life of worshiping God ripples out into all our relationships and activities in ever-expanding concentric circles.

Today’s passage gives the first two ripples: our life in our church (vv. 3-8) and our life in our community (vv. 14-21). The theme of both is characterized by a love that is “genuine” (v. 9), literally, “unfaked.” You cannot fake this kind of love. It only ripples from a life that is being transformed. In our churches, this kind of love ripples out as we use our gifts to serve, not for our egos (v. 3) but because we belong to each other (vv. 4-5). As our physical body needs all its members to thrive, the members of our local churches need one another to flourish.

In our communities, genuine love’s ripple shows up as we bless our enemies, walk with our neighbors in all circumstances, treat people honorably, and seek to live peaceable lives (vv. 14-18). Imagine a community where transformed believers loved like that. How far would the ripples go? —Jon Opgenorth

As you pray, ask God to multiply the ripples of your life.

About the Author

jon opgenorth

Rev. Jon Opgenorth serves as president of Words of Hope. Previously, he served for 18 years as senior pastor at Trinity Reformed Church in Orange City, Iowa. In preparation for ministry, he received a BA in Religion from Northwestern College, and an MDiv from Fuller Theological Seminary.