Back in the heat of early September, they sat us down in the mismatched living room and handed us a vision. “We’re aiming to grow in relationships with God, and with people,” they said. “We can’t grow in one without the other. If we stagnate in relationships, we will stagnate spiritually.”
So as a group, we set these words in front of our faces:
“Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” – Romans 12:10
This is one of those verses that is so beautiful on paper, but SO DAD-GUM HARD in real life.
“Be devoted.” As old-fashioned as this word is to our ears, devotion is writ into the fiber of our DNA. We will be devoted to something, whether it is to our pets, our jobs, a TV series, or our routines.
We will bend over backward to fit it into our schedules.
In our budgets, it is a dedicated line item.
We feel sad or even angry if it is taken from us.
“Be devoted to one another in love.”
Does your devotion run as deep toward your co-worker as it does toward Gray’s Anatomy?
And then we get to this gem: “Honor one another above yourselves.”
Devotions can often line up neck and neck as equals (ie. I devote just as much time to exercise as I do to my garden. I am as devoted to my parents as I am to my sisters.)
But honoring someone more than yourself—this is where we can begin to feel like a cat with our fur rubbed the wrong way. It goes against every natural inclination and can make us feel poufy.
It means that I am more eager to see her recognized at work than I am to be recognized.
It means offering shotgun instead of calling it.
It means being genuinely delighted for the friend who is pregnant or engaged while I am still waiting.
It means I’m actually happy to let someone into my lane when I drive.
But yeah, honor, without devotion, will be drudgery. It will feel so unfair. We might even develop a martyr complex, taking some kind of backward pleasure in making sure others notice how often we put ourselves last. (Um…don’t ask how I know this is true.)
Devotion must so fill our hearts that honor cascades down as surplus. Can you imagine? What would our daily interactions be like if they were bathed in eagerness to love, to respect, to consider their needs first?
I can’t self-generate devotion. But I can fix my eyes on the One who devoted himself to us, even to the point of death. And when I ask Him to change me, I know He will.
This post is part of a writing challenge called Write 31 Days. To read other posts in the series, click here!
Photo credit: Jake Stimpson, edits mine.