December 10 (Daily reading: Romans 11-13) There are three reciprocal principles in Romans 12. The first is fundamental to all the other principles: “We, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another” (v. 5). Paul used an analogy of the human body to explain the church. We are “one body in Christ,” and we are “individually members one of another.” This analogy works well; none of us will voluntarily cut off a little finger or toe just because they are not as useful as our eyes. Every individual member of the church is necessary to the overall functioning of the body of Christ.
Another principle demonstrates respect for one another: “Give preference to one another in honor” (v. 10). This principle is also worded, “Honor one another above yourselves” (NIV). God created us in His image, and we must respect that. David wrote: “You (God) have crowned him (man) with glory and honor” (Ps. 108:5, NKJV). If God crowned us with honor, we should not hesitate to honor one another. When we do, we honor God’s work in and through our lives.
The third principle concerns our attitude: “Be of the same mind toward one another” (12:16). Or stated another way, “Live in harmony with one another” (NIV). When we treat one another equally, we will create unity. If God does not play favorites, should we? Think about someone in the church with whom you work well and enjoy being around. Think about how you treat them. Now, think of another person in the church, someone who often upsets you, for whatever reason. How do you feel about this person? How do you treat them? The object is to learn to treat the second person in the same way you treat the first. (Adapted from my book, “We Love Because God First Loved Us,” pages 56, 122, 126-127).
– Al Gary
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