15th October 2011

Preferring One Another

The Ninth of a Series

“…love as brothers…”
1 Peter 3:8 (NKJV)

Because human nature ‘in the raw’ is exceedingly selfish it is very difficult to live with the idea that we should prefer one another.  Indeed it is very rarely seen.  Yet perhaps in a mother’s love or sometimes in the comradeship of members of a team, especially in the face of conflict, we can catch a glimpse of this aspect of brotherly love.   The apostle Paul speaks to the church in Rome of this love: “Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honour giving preference to one another;” (Romans 12:10)

This is in the context of the church where one would expect this kind of mature love, but Jesus asks more of us than this.  He asks us to have this same love for our enemies, “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.” (Luke 6:27-28)

Does this seem like a step too far?  It probably is!  At least in our own strength and left to our own reasoning.  But Jesus does not expect us to do it in our own strength he wants us to do it in his strength.  He wants us to put to death our natural reactions and allow his righteous reactions to shine through.  Notice how the apostle Paul puts it:  “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.  For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.  When Christ who is our life appears, then you will also appear with him in glory.  Therefore put to death your members which are on earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” (Colossians 3:2-5)

“But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfil its lusts.” (Romans 13:14) and, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)  Even this most difficult aspect of brotherly love can be achieved by Jesus if we will only get out of the way and let his mind and his righteousness have reign in our lives.  

Father in heaven, help me to let the mind and strength of Jesus resist my natural tendency toward selfishness even in the face of enmity and enable me to prefer others above myself, even my enemies, just as did our Lord.

Study by David Stirk

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