Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor.
In Romans 12, Paul answered the question, “What does true love do?” He gave us specific action steps for what it means to exercise genuine love.
First of all, love pursues unity instead of division. Romans 12:10 says, “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.” The word for “brother” in this verse is the Greek word “adelphos.” This word, which is used 230 times in the New Testament, means “from the same womb.” That is what a brother is. Brothers can be different in many ways. What unites them is not how alike they are; it is the fact that they come from the same womb.
It is the same way with Christians. We are to be devoted to one another not because we are alike but because we come from the same Father. That is what unifies us. The reason we are to look out for one another, protect one another, love one another, and stand up for one another is that we are brothers and sisters in Christ.
That leads to a second thought: genuine love will prefer others instead of ourselves. Romans 12:10 says, “Give preference to one another in honor.” The Greek word translated “give preference” means “to go before.” It gives the picture of somebody who steps out of line and goes to the front of the line. You say, “That is rude.” No, the reason he goes to the front of the line is not so that he can gain but so that he can give to the rest of those who are in line. That is what Paul was talking about in this verse. Give preference to one another.
Do you know what is the root cause of every conflict? Whether it is a conflict in a friendship, in a marriage, or in a church, the root cause of every conflict is a desire to do things our way instead of somebody else’s way. James said it like this: “What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members?” (James 4:1). At the heart of every conflict is an attitude that says, “I want it my way.” But Paul said genuine love will place other people’s preferences above our own.
God has not called us to be cookie-cutter Christians who all look like one another, think like one another, and behave like one another. God has not called us to uniformity; He has called us to unity. Unity means that even though we are different, we are melded together by a common love for one another. And the way we maintain that unity is by giving honor to the preferences of other people. Paul said, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4). That is a mark of genuine love.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “True Love Never Waits” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2014.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.