One of my colleagues and I had breakfast this morning as a sort of “last meeting,” and, somehow, I don’t remember how, our conversation led to how people treat each other in relationships—romantic or otherwise. We agreed that, in some cases, it seemed that people are only in things for themselves anymore, that it’s no longer about give and take but what someone can do for “me.” This leads perfectly into today’s Scripture.
While I didn’t post yesterday, the Scriptures from yesterday and today are directly connected. In fact, today’s directly follows yesterday’s. Interestingly enough, they connect to how we should treat others.
Romans 12: 1-8
“I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what it is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he out to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.”
Here, we are told that, like parts of our body, we are all important, but we all play different roles. The hand cannot do the same as the foot. (It’s “be the hands and feet of God” not “the hands or feet,” right?) Our service to God is to sacrifice ourselves to Him, whatever our gifts may be, so He can use them by His grace and for His good.
“Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.”
This passage is, in essence, teaching us how to follow Christ, how to be Christians. We are to love, we are to have hope, be patient, pray. We are to be hospitable, we are to celebrate but also grieve with others. We are not to think so highly of ourselves that we become all we see and not God.
The take away is…
These two Scriptures seem to say the same thing at least once. Look at Romans 12:3: “…not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think.” Now, look at Romans 12:16: “Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.” The message here is simple: Do not think too highly of yourself; do not glorify yourself and your own mind and deeds; surround yourself with others who can help you stay humble.
I said my conversation with my colleague leads into these Scriptures, and it does. Here’s how.
Romans 12:1-8 tells us we all have a role to play in life and to submit to that role (“living sacrifice”). Romans 12:9-16 tells us we need to have compassion, be humble, be kind, and show brotherly (i.e. friendly) love to one another. As Christians, we cannot constantly go around asking “what’s in it for me?” when we bless someone else, or when we make a new connection, or when we partake in fellowship. Our actions have to be selfless, for the good of others, but, most importantly, for the glory of God.
Maybe some people have lost this concept and need to regain it. You totally can! It takes patience, practice, and, yes, prayer. But we must stop thinking we are the end-all-be-all of the world, that the world revolves around us. Because it doesn’t. There are much bigger things.
The part that speaks to me most here is Romans 12:9: “Let love be without hypocrisy.” I mean…wow. I think this sticks out the most because of what my husband and I are going through right now. I can’t say that I love him, and that I am doing this for us, if that isn’t true. (It is! Believe me. But you see my point?) Because that’s not love, it’s selfishness. But when I let the truth reign, wonderful things can happen.
Maybe you just need reminding that God has a role for every one of us and that your role is wonderful too. Maybe you need to find your God-given gift. Maybe you even need a little reminder on how to act during those days when you just can’t possibly love that annoying person. That’s okay. Don’t get caught in your head. Turn to God. His opinion of you and His gift for you and His role for you are the only things that matter.
So, what’s in it for you? Nothing. Except knowing God has a purpose for your life and that every relationship you make can impact you in ways you can’t even imagine.