Ask God to orient or reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.
“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.”
In verse 10, Paul talks about another kind of love—brotherly (philadelphia) love. This is the kind of love that applies to blood relatives. Notice what Paul is doing, though. He’s using this “brotherly” kind of love to refer back to the Christian community. He’s calling us to have a brotherly love for our fellow believers. In other words, Paul is saying that we should love one another as if we were related. Family relationships are essential to us. Even if our brothers, sisters, children and parents develop radically different values and lifestyles from us, there is a tie that remains. “He’s still my brother…” or “She’s still my daughter…” are statements that convey this. Paul is saying that Christians who share common values are to be as doggedly devoted to one another as family members. “Devoted” is therefore a challenging description of Christian love for those of us who have been raised in individualistic cultures (Keller).
The thought of this kind of love is encouraging to me. As a follower of Christ who’s lived in community with others for over 27 years, I can say that I’ve experienced the kind of brotherly love Paul is talking about. We refer to our community as our church family, and we do so because we are a family!
When you have these kinds of relationships, it’s easy to want to honor another above yourself. For example, it is not hard for us to want to step aside and let our children receive honor or recognition. In fact, we’re proud to do so. I can remember when Wes was young and spoke in front of the church. I was so proud of him. I was glad that others recognized him and it filled my heart with joy. It’s normal for us to feel this way when it comes to our kids graduating from school, competing well in sports, being recognized for some kind of achievement; we would never make their achievement about ourselves. Likewise, it should be the same with fellow believers. We need to have the same kind of love and affection for Christians. Honoring another above ourselves means to listen to the other person, to be most aware of his or her hopes, joys, needs and fears, and to be considerate…just like we would with our own blood relative. The essence of this kind of brotherly love is not to concentrate on our own image, position and needs, but on the those of others.
Think about the different ways that you have and are currently experiencing this kind of brotherly love in community with other believers.
How has it strengthened you? Encouraged you? Spurred you on?
*From what you have just read and considered: What is a personal implication/application for your life today?
(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today. KEEP PRAYING THROUGHOUT YOUR DAY.
Inspiration and insight for the devotionals came from the following books: Reading Romans with John Stott; The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World (The Bible Speaks Today Series), Stott, John; Romans (The NIV Application Commentary Book 6) Moo, Douglas J.; Encountering the Book of Romans: A Theological Survey (Encountering Biblical Studies) Moo, Douglas J.; Believers Bible Commentary; The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, with the New International Version, Romans through Galatians; NIV Application Study Bible. The Cambridge Bible Commentary, Romans, Best, Ernest. Romans 8-16 For You: For reading, for feeding, for leading (God’s Word For You – Romans Series Book 2, Keller, Timothy.