Wednesday: Romans 12:10; Galatians 5:13-14; Ephesians 4:2-6
Love Keeps Us Unified
Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.
The word here for “devoted” is an interesting combination of two Greek words for love. The two words are “Philia” which is the love between close friends and “Storge” which is the love among family members. The word for love is another combination of “Philia” and “Adelphos” which means brother.
Paul is saying a mouthful here. If you’ve ever known a pair of siblings that genuinely love and like each other you’ve seen part of the picture that Paul is trying to paint here. You are to show brotherly love in a way that two close friends who are as close as family members would share. The picture here is a very intimate, very connected, very strong, very committed relationship. This is how we are to love each other in the church. We are brothers and sisters in Christ. We should love and like each other. Lean on each other as family and friends. And a key part of gaining that type of closeness is to honor each other above our selves.
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
Sometimes there can be an “ugly” side to families. Even the best of “sibling to sibling” relationships have their moments of abrasiveness. Paul is addressing this very thing in the Galatian church. We are freed by Christ. Though we are freed from the letter of the Law we are not separated from the spirit of the Law. In our freedom we must be responsible, especially in how we treat each other inside the church. To consciously serve one another humbly in “unconditional” or “unreserved” love (agape). Because this was the type of love referred to when Jesus said to “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
Paul rattles off four qualities of unity among the body. Humility, gentleness, patience, and bearing with one another in love. The last one is literally “putting up with each other in love.” Paul then reminds them that we are all one on the “God” side of things, we’re only separate when we are not conscious to behave in the ways that keep the unity and peace among our family in Christ.
So putting all of this together:
Show brotherly love in a way that two close friends who are as close as family members would share
We honor each other above our self to maintain that healthy connection
We are humble and humbly serve each other to keep our focus right
We are gentle, patient, and put up with each other even when it’s difficult to
And in all of this we know that we are one because of who God is and what He has done for us
So read back over these verses one by one, and after reading each one take some time of silence and simply meditate for a few minutes before moving to the next
After this pray about these things:
Pray for unity and super healthy relationships among our family at Miamitown
Pray that God would help you to see times when you could be more humble, gentle, patient, or forbearing with your church family
Pray that God would continue to nurture a servant spirit inside of your heart, especially toward your brothers and sisters in Christ