Thursday, 14 November 2013
Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; Romans 12:10
This verse includes continued instruction in our expected duties and relationships as members of the church. Two specific thoughts are included. The first is to “be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love.” Two words based on the thought of personal affection are used. One which is translated “kindly affectionate” is the word philostorgoi. This is the only time it is used in the New Testament and it is implying the closeness of family; a mother for her children, or the proper love of siblings who don’t quarrel or compete, but who truly care for each other. The idea is that we are to love one another within the body of believers as if they were members of our immediate and cherished family.
The second word is translated as “brotherly love.” It is the word philadelphia. It’s used six times in the New Testament and it shows that we are to treat each other as true brothers in the faith. The idea of brotherly love finds its most direct explanation in the words of Jesus –
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34, 35
Just as Jesus loves us, we are to love each other. His love was a sacrificial love, going so far as death for His brothers. He washed their feet, humbled himself, and cared for them with true kindness and affection. And this type of love translates into the second thought of verse 12:10, which is that we are to act toward others “in honor giving preference to one another.”
Instead of being first, we are to stand back and open the door. Rather than looking for note among others, we should note others. In place of lording our position above others, we should exalt those around us. The honor is to be directed from each person outward toward all other people. By acting in this way, it then becomes a demonstration to all that honor is due to all.
Life application: Paul’s list of expectations from each of us is easy to assimilate in instruction, but immensely hard to put into practice. It involves a constant mental effort of putting ourselves into a proper perspective which is in many ways contrary to our nature. In order to meet these admonitions, we need to keep looking back to the life and ministry of Jesus. When we see His treatment of those who were of the faith, we have a fixed point of reference to act in like manner.
Lord, when I think that You washed the feet of Your apostles, how can I not be willing to submit myself to others in the same manner. You have noted that I should look at my brothers in the faith with the same attitude and to defer preference to them. As hard as it is at times to do this, I will work to do so. Give me the willing heart to glorify You in this manner. Amen.