12:9 Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good;
12:10 Love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor.
12:11 Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord.
12:12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer.
12:13 Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.
12:14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.
12:15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.
12:16 Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly;
Much of the letters of Paul are addressing issues with personal relations. At every church there were problems just like problems we have today. People were being upset by other people in the church. In the church of Corinth Christians were feuding so bad that Paul had to tell them to stop taking each other to the judge to solve their problems. James wrote to a church and had to tell them to stop giving preference to the wealthy. Here in Romans Paul is addressing the relations between the Jewish Christians and the Gentile Christians, who had a severe disagreement about circumcision and some of the Jewish customs that were believed to be necessary to become Christians. But Paul wanted more out of these believers. He wanted them to represent the kingdom.
Paul is known for making lists. This list is short but it is thorough. If any group of people, especially the church, practiced these principles then such a group would have people knocking down the doors to get in. Could you imagine what your own church would be like if everyone served with hospitality, blessed those who came against them, wept with the sorrowful, rejoiced with the happy, and went out of their way to “outdo one another” in showing honor and affection? I would dare to say that such a church would grow so quickly that it would overtake the world.
This is what Jesus called us too. Christians would be so much of the reflection of Christ that they would infect the rest of population like leaven in dough. That we would be known by our love for one another.
“The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.” (Matthew 13:33)