“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor.” Romans 12:10 NASB
I am going to jump out on a limb and say none of us have a problem doing this, right? Every single one of us that call ourselves followers of Christ—we all live this verse out daily, right? I know, if you are like me, it is difficult sometimes. Personally, I get stuck on that word devoted. I spent half my life being devoted to surviving. Now, granted, my surviving probably looks different than most. But, if you have ever lived paycheck to paycheck, ate Raman noodles so often you tried crushing them up to eat them like chips with the packet sprinkled on top, or faced odds stacked against you so high that despair became as normal as breathing—you can probably relate.
This verse isn’t talking about that sort of devotion, though. It’s talking about the loving affection sort of devotion. The kind we have toward our spouse, our kids, our loved ones. And, the real kicker I found is it’s not how we personally would do that sort of devotion, either. It’s based more on how Paul understood and showed devotion because he is the one that the Holy Spirit used to write the words. I mean, let’s face it, while some of us have devotion on an all-time affectionate spiritual-gift level, a lot of us see devotion as a task-oriented activity, or as perseverance itself.
So, I started thinking about how Paul was devoted. Obviously he wasn’t married from what I could find, nor did he have kids. But, if we really look at his life, the man was married to spreading the Gospel. He loved the Gospel. He suffered for the Gospel. I mean, he went to prison for the Gospel. He laid down his life for the Gospel. Just as he said that husbands were to submit to wives like Christ did in dying for the church, Paul did that for the Gospel, too (Ephesians 5:25-30). Then it hit me, his kids were really the believers that he ministered to. He loved them, traveled to them, wrote them and did what he could to encourage, uplift and strengthen them in their faith. He praised them for their growth in Christ and corrected them when they were screwing up. I mean, the man was devoted.
To me, looking at devoted through Paul’s eyes, it reinforces just how much brotherly, fraternal love is a big deal to God. I think that He is asking us in this Scripture to be devoted to leading and loving one another with respect and admiration, while valuing one another with the highest dignity. Not just the people we are close to but ALL who follow Christ. Ourselves included.
I admit, sometimes this has not been the easiest for me. I have done this wrong. Especially when looking in the mirror, as well as without a mirror. I am grateful for his mercies and forgiveness, though. He is so merciful and forgiving to give us new opportunities to be devoted and do our best to follow the examples He has given us! What about you? What does this spark in you? How can you be better devoted? In what areas of your life are you missing the mark?
Until Next Time,