Be Devoted to One Another

Scripture: Romans 12:10a, ‘Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.’

 

Observations: In the Greek this phrase literally reads, ‘the brotherly love towards one another affectionate.’ Paul presumes that as Christians we will love one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. But he wants to describe what this love will be like. Earlier he says that our sacrificial love ought to be ‘sincere. (v9)’ But here he says our brotherly love ought to be ‘affectionate.’ This is a very unusual word in Greek. It is only found here in this verse, and it’s a compound word made up of philo (love) and storgos (affection). It can be translated as tender affection, or the love that is expected between family members. Our love for our spiritual family ought to reflect our love for our biological family. There’s a saying ‘blood is thicker than water,’ which means that those who are related by blood matter more than those who don’t. Paul would suggest that we have that same attitude towards our brothers and sisters in Christ.

 

Application: Do you consider your spiritual family as important in your life as your biological family? Are you as devoted to your spiritual family as your biological one? Paul tells Timothy ‘Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity. (1 Tim 5:1-2)’ In a sense our spiritual family becomes our new family. Jesus says ‘everyone who has left brothers or sisters or father or mother or children for my sake will receive a hundred times as much. (Mt 19:29)’ If the church is your new family, how committed are you to that family, how much do you care about them?

 

Prayer: Dear Heavenly father, You have not only given me a wonderful biological family, but You have also placed me in a wonderful spiritual family. Lord, as I am grateful for my biological father and mother, may I be grateful for the older men and women in our church who have walked with You for so many years. Lord, I also thank You for the many brothers and sisters that I have, some of who are older in the faith and some younger, but Lord, help me love them all. Grow my commitment to the church. May I care for these people as if they were my own family. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

 

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