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Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Romans 12:10 (NIV)

In 1683 William Penn made a treaty with the Indians in North America, and purchased from them a large woody tract, which, after its own nature and his name, he calledPennsylvania. Penn built a city in this tract of land which was populated by people of his own denomination, and called the cityPhiladelphia.

Regardless of what has transpired since then, Penn’s desire was to build a city of like minded people who were devoted to one another; that would be kindly affectioned to another with brotherly love.

The phrase ‘be devoted to one another’ in Romans 12:10 is best translated with that word-Philadelphia. Actually the original Greek wording in Romans is only used in that one spot. It’s best translated as the kind of love a parent might have for a child, or a brother might have for another brother. It’s a family kind of love. What Paul it telling us is that we are all part of one family and we should live as such.

The family has been the foundation of society since time began. This fact didn’t take away from the reality that differences arose as a result of personal preferences and personality traits. But the one defining characteristic that made families work was a devotion to one another regardless of those differences. We don’t agree, we may even quarrel, but you can’t change the DNA.

What’s true in the physical sense is true in the spiritual sense. Those of us who have accepted Jesus Christ as personal Savior and live in his forgiveness and grace are family. Jesus gives each of us the same spiritual DNA so that we will live in harmony with one another. Each of us brings our own likes and dislikes regarding worship and music. Each of us brings our own opinions based on our backgrounds and traditions. Each of us brings a load of baggage from our past.

Regardless of what we bring into the family, we are admonished to live in devotion to one another by honoring others above ourselves. The New Century Version translates the verse like this: Love each other like brothers and sisters. Give each other more honor than you want for yourselves. That means we are not only to treat each other well, we are to treat each other better than we want to be treated.

So many times I hear people say they have quit going to church because of all the fighting between church members and denominations. What a difference it would make if William Penn’s dream of a place where everyone was of like mind and devotion was realized in the body of Christ.

PRAYER: Father, show me today if I harbor any feelings of discord towards a brother or sister in Christ or in a denominational body that believes differently than I do. Help me to live with the devotion my spiritual DNA calls me to so that your church can be united. Amen.Cross references:

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July 2012
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