Summary: Let us assess ourselves accurately, accept our place in the body and assist others through our gifts.
Dr. Francis Schaeffer, a noted Evangelical thinker, wrote, “Our relationship with each other is the criterion the world uses to judge whether our message is truthful—Christian community is the final defense of our faith.” Today we will look at how we can enjoy life together as a community.
Last week, we focused on Romans 12:5 where it says, “so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” We saw that life is all about God and each other. This morning we will amplify how we can apply this truth as we look into the context of that verse. Let us read Romans 12:3-6. “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us.”
Last week I mentioned that there are three other “one another’s” in the chapter. In verse 10 we read, “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Then in verse 16, “Live in harmony with one another.” These flows from verse 5 that say “we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.”
How do we enjoy life together as a community? First, we are to ASSESS ourselves accurately. Again, let is read verse 5: “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.” Pride divides people. Thus, we are warned, “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment”. The way we value ourselves determines the way we value others. If we are insecure, we will end up trying to impress others. If we are arrogant, we will alienate them. That’s why the New Living Translation goes like this: “Be honest in your estimate of yourselves”. An honest estimate leads us to express ourselves to others.
Note that it is not wrong to have a high view of ourselves. What the Bible warned us is thinking of ourselves “more highly” than we ought to think. According to the Bible in Basic English, “But I say to every one of you… not to have an over-high opinion of himself”. Another translation goes like this, “I say to everyone being among you, not to have high thoughts beyond what is right to think.” A humble person knows where he stands. He does not have to compete against others or compare himself with them “but in humility consider others better than [himself].”
In the Amplified Bible Romans 12:3 says, “not to have an exaggerated opinion of his own importance”. Each one is important. No one is more or less important than others. That’s why in verse 16 it says, “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.” In the New American Standard Bible, it goes like this: “Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation.” Conceit ruins community.
So we are to assess ourselves accurately. On what ground or standard? Note this clause: “in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.” I like The Message version: “The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him.” We are who we are because of who God is and what He has done for us. I encourage you to write out the things God gave to you, like your talents and gifts, and thank Him for them.
Once we assess ourselves accurately, now we have to see ourselves in context. We have to be aware of our need to be involved. We would actually find our identity in our community. That’s why we are to ACCEPT our place in the Body, that is, the church. Verses 4 and 5 says, “Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” Now that we saw where we stand personally, let us see where we stand corporately.