When I hear the word “devoted” I can’t help but think of Sandy, in her white nightgown, sitting on the porch, lovesick for Danny, singing “Hopelessly Devoted to You.” If that’s not your first thought, then I guess maybe you weren’t a teenager in the 70s listening to the new musical “Grease”. I guess maybe I was.

What does it mean to
“be devoted to one another in love”? *

Devoted: zealous or ardent in attachment, loyalty, or affection; faithful, constant, loyal.

Those are good definitions, but when Paul wrote this, he had something more in mind. Finding the right word was so important to Paul that he invented a brand new word, used only this one time in the Bible.

We make up words all the time.
Have you ever been hangry (hungry + angry)?
Have you ever used a spork (spoon + fork)
when eating brunch (breakfast + lunch)
while glamping (glamorous + camping)?

Paul was a master wordsmith who took two words, mashed them together, and created an expression that was revolutionary.

Here it is:
Philos + Storge = Philostorgos

Philos means intimate, authentic love between friends that wants what is best for the other person.
Storge means unconditional, protective love experienced between family members.

When mashed up, philostorgos means:

  • you can count on me to show up.
  • you can trust me with your truest self.
  • you are a sister/brother to me.
  • I will not undermine, criticize or gossip about you to others.
  • I will encourage you to grow in your faith.
  • I will open up my heart to you and give you my truest self.
  • Our friendship is based on loyal commitment.
  • Our relationship is mutual and life-giving.
  • Our devotion to each other will grow a strong, warm community.

Far from being hopelessly devoted,
this kind of devotion between believers
is filled with hope.

Father, forgive me for my lack of devoted love for those in my community of faith. I confess my flagging commitment and complacent attitude. Show me where my devotion is misplaced and increase my desire to be an enthusiastic, consistent member of my church family. Help us, Your children, be devoted to each other in love.

*Part 1 in a series on “The One Anothers”.
Related post: The One Anothers

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