Scripture: Romans 12:10b, ‘Honor one another above yourselves.’
Observations: Paul uses an unusual word in an unusual way in this verse. The phrase the NIV translates as ‘above yourselves,’ is the Greek word proēgeomai, which is only used here. The root word ēgeomai and its variants refer to rulers or leaders and are used 51 times in the New Testament. Proēgeomai literally means to lead by example, or to go before as a leader. But Paul uses it to describe the honour that we are to show our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. According to Paul we are not just to honour our fellow believers, we are to honour them as if they were great leaders, as if they had not only authority over us, but the respect that goes with it. We are to honour others as if they were people worthy of following. The nearest idea is where Paul says ‘in humility consider others better than yourselves. (Phil 2:3)’ The word ‘consider’ is the word ēgeomai used in this same unusual way. In Philippians we are to honour others as an act of humility i.e. we lower ourselves. But in Romans we honour others by lifting them up above ourselves.
Application: The point is not that our fellow brothers and sisters are great leaders worthy of honour and respect, rather we are to treat them in such a way. The Bible gives us two reasons why we would treat people in such a fashion. The first is because they are made in God’s image. All people deserve to be treated with respect because they are God’s children in a very general sense. But more specifically, God’s people are worthy of honour because they are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. We are all part of God’s holy temple in which God lives by his Spirit (Eph 2:21). Our brothers and sisters are great because of who they are in Christ. Do you honour your brothers and sisters above yourself? How do you show that?
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, You have not only created my fellow brothers and sisters, You have filled them with Your Holy Spirit, and they have an intricate part in Your purposes. Lord, forgive me when all I see is their faults and failures, and I don’t look at them as You do, as forgiven, as saints, as Your children, and members of Your Kingdom. Lord, help me to give Your children the honour that they are due, not because of them, but because of what You are doing in them. Lord, teach me to be humble, and help me honour others above myself. In Jesus’ name. Amen.