Day 3: 40 Day Love Challenge
Day 3: Love each other in a way that makes you feel close like brothers and sisters. And give each other more honor than you give yourself. (Romans 12:10).
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Romans 12:10 Meaning of Be Devoted to One Another in Love
“Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.”
Explanation and Commentary of Romans 12:10
Christians are the only species on the planet that is free. The identity of a Christian is settled. The world’s way is to fight for personal glory that comes from comparison with other people. What’s worse is that this comparison is mostly of outward appearance, compelling humans to break their backs keeping up with the Joneses.
But the Christian identity comes from God. We understand something. We are intrinsically equal to everyone else as image-bearers. We are totally depraved in our flesh until we are saved completely by Christ alone so that there is no boasting whatsoever (Ro 3:27). We know that we have a lot of growing to do, but that the comparison game is over. We know that God has a plan for us to become like his Son, and it is only by his Holy Spirit that we will be able to do that. We know that it is only by God’s grace that we are where we are.
And identity is the foundation for “honoring one another above yourselves.” It costs nothing. It honors God. It cultivates humility. We can be “devoted to one another” because it is “in love,” God’s love. There is no ulterior motive in our devotion, only a command to obey.
Breaking Down the Key Parts of Romans 12:10
#1 “Be devoted to one another…”
What does devotion look like? It means commitment, being there. Perhaps one way to obey this command would be to find a local church and commit to the people in it. Commit to doing life together so that you can care for one another. See your brothers and sisters in Christ-like your family.
#2 “…in love.”
The love of God is the grounds for this commitment. Even in the Church, the temptation would be to use love and service as a means to control people or to gain selfishly. But if the love of God, demonstrated by Christ on the cross (1 Jn 3:16) is our foundation for how we treat others, the devotion can be selfless. When two people are full of the love of God and committed to one another, there is great power.
#3 “Honor one another above yourselves.”
All Christian relationships, even those we have with unbelievers, are meant to be horizontal, not vertical. Even leadership is not meant to be hierarchical as the world thinks of it (Mk 10:42-45). Honoring another above yourself is not because you think you are so horrible and low, which would be only a form of pride, but rather because this person in front of you bears the image of your Father. Your own identity is settled, so you are left able to obey God’s command to honor other people above yourself.
Paul’s weighty epistle to his beloved brothers and sisters in Rome is designed to focus our attention on our great salvation – i.e.-our position as already justified; our conduction as in the process of being sanctified and our assured future, of one day being glorified and made like unto Christ’s glorious body. As Paul draws his amazing treatise on salvation to a conclusion, he ends with a section on how to live the Christian life, in a way that is pleasing to God.
He argues that in the light of the amazing grace of God that has been showered upon us all, and the manifold mercies He has poured upon all His children – including our past justification, our ongoing sanctification and our future glorification – we should live a life that is worthy of our calling. Paul urges us to live a holy life – to present our bodies as a living sacrifice to God, to be separated from the world – to be transformed into the likeness of Christ through the renewing of our minds and to use the gifts, talents, abilities and works (which God has foreordained that we should do) – wisely, diligently, cheerfully and in an attitude of love.
It is this attitude of godly love towards one another that comes to its climax with Paul exhortation to us all… love one another with brotherly affection and seek to outdo one another in showing your brothers and sisters in Christ, honour and respect. All who profess to be Christians are called and commanded to love in the same way that Christ loved us. This is not a human love that we have to pump up from deep within ourselves but is a supernatural love that is external to human emotions. It is the very love of God Himself, which is freely available to all believers and is freely given to those who are prepared to die to their own human natures – to take up their own cross daily and to live the only life that is wholly acceptable to God – a spiritual life – a sacrificial life.
Such a life is available to us, by means of the holy Spirit, and expressed through our new life in Christ – but only those who choose God-dependency over Self-dependency can avail themselves of God’s love. Beloved let us love one another, for love is of God. Let us love each another with brotherly affection and seek to outdo one another in showing honour and grace., to all.