Rom 12:4-5 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. NIV
The apostle Paul, in this twelfth chapter of Romans, is about to lay out God’s design for His church. Remember that Jesus said that the ”gates of Hell” would not prevail against the church. One of the ways that He would accomplish that, is by using Paul to teach believers in Christ how they were to view themselves and others as well as how they should interact together.
Before he begins teaching the concept of the church being like a body, he gives us insight on how we are to view ourselves. “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment…” (Rom 12:3) This is extremely important. If you do not have a proper view of yourself, you will not view others correctly either. In turn, that hinders our ability to interact well and work together for the cause of Christ.
So, how are we to think of ourselves? It’s really quite simple. Paul says to “not think of yourself more highly than you ought.” Instead, use sound or sober judgment. For some, this seems to a difficult task. I have noticed that many people have difficulty looking at themselves objectively. Some blame themselves for everything that goes wrong, taking all responsibility. Others can’t seem to hold themselves accountable for anything and take no responsibility.
Paul is saying to not be extreme either way in our thinking, but to make sure we don’t think of ourselves as so important that we do not need other people. Remember that he started out prefacing all of this teaching by saying, “in view of God’s mercy.” As we look at ourselves and others, it should always be through the filter of His mercy. If you are tempted to think of yourself in an “elevated” way, just remember that you were an enemy of God, on your way to suffering His wrath, until Jesus Christ saved you! Remember also that Jesus said that the greatest in God’s kingdom are those who humble themselves and become the servant of all.
Once we get the right perspective on ourselves, we can be used in the way that Paul will describe in verses 6-8 and again in 1st Corinthians 12. He will point out that God has given believers different spiritual gifts, in order to make us dependent on one another. This way, no one is elevated or independent, but instead, all use their gift or gifts to serve the entire “body” of believers in Christ.
The last sentence of verse five is really important. It teaches us that we are not only dependent on each other but that we “belong” to one another. Literally it means we are “of” one anther. Have you ever thought of your place in the body of Christ that way? This is how closely bound we are to other believers in Christ. This should affect the way we think and act with all fellow believers. We may not always agree and we may not always get along perfectly, but we belong to one another. Jesus said that the world would know that we follow Him by our love for one another (Jn 13:35).
So remember, if you are a believer in Christ, you are part of the body of Christ. God desires for you to fulfill your function in the body, using the spiritual gift/s He has given to you. You are to do that out of love for Him and your brothers and sisters in Christ. I pray that you are already doing that, but if not, start now!
God bless you
P.S. if you have not yet studied the Spiritual Gifts and discovered yours, I have a written a book on that very subject. Just click on the image on the right hand side of the blog site.