Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other (Romans 12:10).
By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35).
Peter asked us to exercise diligence in adding the following attributes to our lives. Beginning with faith, then moral excellence, then knowledge, then self-control, then perseverance, then godliness, now brother kindness (phileo) and next week love (agape). (2 Peter 1:3-10 – GNT).
Brotherly love is a command that God gives us (1 John 3:23) so that we can be strengthened from within. We are to spend time with each other. We are to encourage each other. We are to be generous with our time, money and possessions with each other. It is through esteeming others better than ourselves (Philippians 2:3) that we are able to offer and receive constructive correction that helps us (Galatians 6:1) to stay on the straight and narrow path that Christ has laid out before us.
The best example that I can think of to describe true brotherly love is Jesus. In Philippians 2:1-11 we see that Christ was willing to sacrifice all that He had with the Father to come and serve us, by living a life in which He was tempted in all things as we are (Hebrews 4:14-16); then being found sinless, He chose to take our sin upon Himself and die in our place so we could be forgiven and then He was resurrected so we could have a personal relationship with Him and be in fellowship with each other.
As we can see from Jesus’ example – brotherly kindness is an action attribute (1 John 3:18)– it requires us to be active in encouraging and building up fellow Christians – so we will be more prepared to take on next week’s challenge of loving all people.
What about you and me – are we developing brotherly kindness?
If we are – how can we increase our brotherly kindness even more (1 Thessalonians 4:9-10)?
If we are not – what is holding us back?
One area that I need a lot of God’s help in, is to stop treating people like they are a nuisance (in the tone of my voice) when they come to ask me to do something. Being over-tired and/or really busy trying to get something done are not good reasons to treat another person poorly.
Father God, please help each one of us to take a closer look at how we are treating people. We all can benefit from being kinder, gentler and more thoughtful of another’s needs. Thank You for the example that Jesus has set for us. Please be with each one of us this week granting us peace, joy and wisdom in our day-to-day lives. In Jesus name, amen.