Honor one another above yourselves.
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. -Romans 12:9-13 NIV
The words in these verses are so descriptive of what it means to live in Christian community. The ideas they represent are both inspirational and challenging. In this narrative Paul is calling the Romans, and us, to a devotion that is not attained by human means. For who has it in themselves to honor others above themselves? Yet is this not the kind of love that Christ calls us to? Are we not called to love and serve others as Christ has loved and served us?
The apostle goes on and tells us what this love looks like using words like zeal, fervor, joy, hope, patience, faithful and hospitality. As I meditate on these words I find myself lacking. Often I am not hopeful, joyous, patient or prayerful in affliction. In these times I need the love of the Lord's faithful people to encourage me. When I hurt the most I need the community of those with spiritual fervor to share love with me and to remind me that I am not alone.
Surround those who are hurting and alone Lord. Encompass them with the presence and love of the saints.