Romans 12:10-13 New American Standard Bible
10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; [a]give preference to one another in honor, 11 not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, 13 contributing to the needs of the [b]saints, [c]practicing hospitality.
The Word of God for the Children of God.
Adeste Fideles! Laeti Triumphantes! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.
Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.
“Be Devoted to One Another in Brotherly Love …”
These commanding words of Paul are so simple and yet so very profound.
As Children of God, as Christians, we are all to covenanted by God to love one another and be devoted to each other as cherished members of the same family.
We should consider each other over our own self interests and give precedence, shared support, uplifting and honor to our brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus.
There should be no quarreling or factions between us, and we should consider how to build up in the faith and encourage each other continually in the Lord.
This image of God’s family is what we are expected to outwardly portray to the world; united by grace, loving, caring, and abundantly devoted to one another.
Called Away, and Separated by God, to Serve Others with Love
Mark 1:16-20 English Standard Version
Jesus Calls the First Disciples
16 Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 17 And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.”[a] 18 And immediately they left their nets and followed him. 19 And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. 20 And immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him.
Many new cars today are equipped with a global positioning system (GPS).
These little gadgets-with soothing voices and readable maps-once these things are programmed with an address, it can tell you how to get from here to there.
Except that Jesus did not provide Simon and Andrew with anything like a GPS or even a map.
Instead, without social media he simply walked by the lake where they were conducting their day to day business of providing for their families and their community, invited them to follow him on an adventure with a risky Teacher.
Our passage from Mark’s Gospel today pulls us into our immediate response to the call to “come away,” following Jesus, without knowing the way ourselves.
In Galilee, Jesus began telling others that God’s kingdom had arrived in him.
The good news of Jesus came after a four-hundred-year silence since the last Hebrew Testament prophets had brought the words of the Lord.
Immediately Jesus wanted to announce, to introduce people to God’s plan: in him, God is among us; in him, God’s kingdom has come; and the call to believe in him is the best invitation people will ever receive, be honored to respond to.
This Itinerant Master Rabbi Jesus was intervening into their lives, calling men and women into places where there would be little, if any, comfort and security.
An intervention, an adventure with Jesus led his disciples to places they would never have imagined, witnessing to all of God’s miraculous redemptive work .
Could they have known what miracle signs and wonders were ahead of them?
Despite their not knowing the magnitude of what they would witness, they all would testify that following Jesus would mean plenty of risk and inconvenience.
They would testify “inconvenience with Jesus” makes living life worth living.
Learning to Serve Others with Love
Romans 12:9-13 The Message
9-10 Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.
11-13 Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.
“Ministry” is derived from the Greek word diakoneo, meaning “to serve.”
Every believer is called into ministry to serve Jesus and His body.
Jesus came to earth to serve others and calls us to follow His lead in selflessness and compassion for others, especially our brothers and sisters in Christ.
It is human to seek after the cravings of our flesh, but in Christ Jesus, we can turn away from old ways (Colossians 3:10; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 4:24).
The Holy Spirit empowers us to set our selfishness aside to follow Savior Jesus’ example of being in service of others.
That Kind of Lifestyle Begins by Giving Our Mindset Unto God.
Psalm 119:1-8 The Message
119 1-8 You’re blessed when you stay on course,
walking steadily on the road revealed by God.
You’re blessed when you follow his directions,
doing your best to find him.
That’s right—you don’t go off on your own;
you walk straight along the road he set.
You, God, prescribed the right way to live;
now you expect us to live it.
Oh, that my steps might be steady,
keeping to the course you set;
Then I’d never have any regrets
in comparing my life with your counsel.
I thank you for speaking straight from your heart;
I learn the pattern of your righteous ways.
I’m going to do what you tell me to do;
don’t ever walk off and leave me.
Bible study and prioritizing spiritual discipline of prayer allow the Holy Spirit to go to work, renew our minds, shifting our focus to eternal and spiritual matters.
The longer we walk with the Lord, the more we discipline ourselves to walk with the Lord, the more we train and retrain our eyes and ears, hearts, minds, souls, hands and feet and the rest of our bodies the more able we are to hold up under the impossible array of temptations of our worldly thinking and fleshly desires.
Our behavior and attitude change as God gives us the desire to love, obey, and serve Him fervently!
Selfish living isn’t an option for Christ followers!
The Apostle Paul encouraged believers to become committed to the Lord and our brothers and sisters in Christ:
Romans 12:9-13 English Standard Version
Marks of the True Christian
9 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit,[a] serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
Paul wrote to the church at Thessalonica, “We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us” ( I Thessalonians 2:8 ).
The Gospel is what brought them together and gave them a common bond.
What grew from that foundation was a great friendship with Savior Christ as the center.
The Apostle Paul rejoiced that he was able to share in their lives also because these people were so dear to him.
This bond transcends time and distance because it is based on the groundwork of God’s redemption, salvation work, through His Son Jesus Christ at Calvary.
This is why it is so important to surround yourselves with other brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus, who are readily willing and able to share of their lives.
Proverbs says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17).
“As for reputation, though it be a glorious instrument of advancing our Master’s service, yet there is a better than that: a clean heart, a single eye, and a soul full of God. A fair exchange if, by the loss of reputation, we can purchase the lowest degree of purity of heart.” Reverend John Wesley (founder of Methodism)
Being in the company of other believers will encourage you and everyone who is around you in your personal connection, fellowship, relationship with the Lord.
It is impossible to be around another person who is excited about God and not have a measure of that excitement rub off on you.
“I have seen (as far as it can be seen) many persons changed in a moment from the spirit of horror, fear, and despair to the spirit of hope, joy, peace; and from sinful desires, till then reigning over them, to a pure desire of doing the will of God.” John Wesley (Founder of Methodism)
We are called to speak to each other, see each other, hear each other, listen to and love each other and to be devoted to one another, as a close knit family.
We now belong to one another.
We have been adopted into the family of God and our lives now reflect His life.
No longer do we ‘go it alone’, instead we are called into fellowship with other brothers and sisters in Christ.
The writer of Hebrews said, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another-and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24-25).
We are to share our lives, encourage and serve each other in the Word and spur each other random acts of radical hospitality, and towards love and good deeds.
This is a most wonderful thing about being part of God’s family, having other brothers and sister to encourage us and help us grow, that we may reciprocate.
Intersecting Faith and Life:
In dying to our selfish ways, our lives bring glory to God.
We may feel pain and joy as the light of God shows up in other people’s lives.
He does not leave us to our strength to follow the command to love and serve one another.
God empowers us to surrender to Him and His ways entirely. Our love for Him and others will steadily grow stronger and disciplined with each obedient step.
Every passing day, by God’s grace, we mature and cultivate a heart to serve others for His glory!
Who is God asking you to serve?
What selfish desires do you need to put aside to put someone else’s life before yours?
Are you too busy or distracted to serve or pray for others?
Let’s take some time and write down those who might come to mind.
Being “devoted to another in brotherly love” requires our church talk — we are family, brothers and sisters, children of God — must be more than mere words.
We must enter each others lives, getting to know one another so that we can serve, love and bless each other.
What have any of us done lately to get more involved in the lives of your fellow Christians?
Devotion to others follows a commitment to know and be known by them!
Who can you minister to, even if it is just a simple phone call to encourage someone or simply invite a new couple from your church over for dinner?
May God empower us His Children to choose others above ourselves and show their love of Christ over their love for the world, with ever greater compassion.
In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,
Let us Pray,
Almighty Father, thank you for giving me a world wide family. Thank you for loving me so completely. Father I ask that you help me be more open with myself and my time to those in your family. Lord, help me to assess my value in terms of living for you. I need your courage to lead me and guide me into places where I can make a difference today. Give me a contrite and disciplined heart which burns to bless others and be blessed by those you have made your children. Through Savior Jesus I pray.
Adeste Fideles! Laeti Triumphantes! Venite Adoremus! Dominum. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.