Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in Heaven is perfect.
Matthew 5:48 NKJV
PROCESS – BUILDING BLOCKS
“But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness(affection) ….
II Peter 1:5-7 NKJV
This is the sixth building block unto the goal of perfection in Christ. Brotherly Affection or brotherly kindness(in some bible versions) seems to be an easy trait upon first glance. This is because it’s says, “Brotherly Affection” How hard can it be? However, we must take note that this block is built upon five others laid upon the foundation of faith. There’s excellence, knowledge, self-control, endurance and then godliness. Why then wasn’t brotherly affection placed right under excellence or knowledge? Why all the way up here? Because the Lord understands the challenge that comes with this trait. He knows that to be able to clearly manifest this you will need the others especially that of knowledge, self-control and endurance.
What is Brotherly Affection?
This English phrase was derived from the original Greek Word Philadelphia. This word is the combination of two Greek words namely; philos and Adelphos.
Philos means dear, fond of or friend. It is a kind of love where you love a person dearly as you would your best friend.
A good example of this kind of love in Scripture is that of the relationship that existed between David and Jonathan. The Bible states that Jonathan loved his friend David as his(Jonathan’s) own soul (1 Samuel 18:1). Jonathan loved David as He would love himself. David was dear to Him. This is what defines philos.
The next Greek word is Adelphos. This word simply means a brother (or sister). Delphos refers to the womb and thus anyone you shared the womb with is considered your Adelphos. This term can also be applied figuratively. It can stand for neighbor, associate, teammate etc.
What then does Philadelphia mean? Let us add the meaning of both words and try to make sense of them. Philadelphia would mean loving a brother dearly. Gleaning from the perfect example concerning David and Jonathan, we can define “Philadelphia” as such: Loving a brother so dearly as you would love yourself.
Who then are our brothers(or sisters so to speak)? Our fellow believers. We are all born of the same Spirit which obviously would make us related in a spiritual and divine sense. We, being children of God, all share the DNA of our Father in Heaven. In other words, what we are focusing on this session is our love for our fellow Christians.
I believe that the further we progress in this Perfection Series the harder it gets. We all assume we love our fellow Christians, but the truth of the matter is, it is not always that way. It is not always easy to show brotherly affection.
Many of you will bear with me that in your days as a new believer, one of your most severe tests in your Christian walk is way your were treated by your fellow Christians. Many of you expected loads of love, care, kindness etc. Many of you expected that some of your fellow believers will treat you fairly, not try to take advantage of you in anyway or even speak against you behind your back. Unfortunately, it wasn’t and still is not so.
It is rather surprising that despite the ill-treatment we may have received from some of our fellow brethren and sisters, we are still instructed to love them. Believe you me, this is not easy. Definitely not!
Now you understand why we had to go through all the other building blocks before getting here. We really need them.
“If an enemy were insulting me, I could endure it; if a foe were rising against me, I could hide. But it is you, a man like myself, my companion, my close friend, with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship at the house of God, as we walked about among the worshipers.”
Psalm 55:12-14 NIV
If you have ever felt betrayed by someone you trusted you know how painful it is. “Oh He is a prayerful brother. A Spirit-filled tongue-talking powerhouse! How could he have done this to me?” The sisters are not exempted from this either. It really hurts when your fellow brother or sister hurts you. A thousand time more than it would if it was done by a wicked unbeliever. But We are still to love them.
God has made this possible through the new birth. Let is read this in 1 Peter:
“Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever…”
I Peter 1:22-23 NKJV
It is because of our birth that we are able to overcome this challenge and love our brethren. If we hadn’t been born again, it would not be possible. Nope. Not ever!
Please notice that our love for our brethren stems from obedience. Once again, we see the importance of obedience in our Christian walk towards Perfection. It is through obedience that we love our fellow brethren not FEELINGS.
Loving our fellow Christians is not always easy. It requires obedience, self -control in order not to lash out vengefully and endurance to put up with all the hurt, betrayal, hoodwinking, slander and condemnation amongst a whole lot.
Personally, I thank God for His supply to strength to help me (you inclusive) in my weakness to give in to spite and vengeance. Loving the brethren comes with great benefits. Especially for our calling as Christians under the limelight on stage before the rest of the World. This will be dealt with in our next session.
Grace is ever- sufficient and always available to help you in moments like these. Learn to forgive and let-go for it is healthy and plays major role your healing. Learn to love your fellow brethren. It is not always easy. But it is possible.
I love You!!!!
E. O. UcHe