Think the Same of One Another

Scripture: Romans 12:16, ‘Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.’

 

Observations: In the Greek there is a single word that dominates this verse, a word that doesn’t come out in the NIV text. The New King James actually is closest to the Greek. It translates this verse, ‘Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble.’ The word ‘mind’ in the Greek is phroneō, and it means ‘to think, or regard, or ponder,’  and it appears twice in this verse. Firstly as followers of Jesus we are to ‘be of the same mind toward one another.’ What Paul is getting at is that we are to think about one another in the same way. That idea is expanded on in the next phrase, where Paul says, ‘Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble.’ In the Greek there is a little uncertainty about whether this phrase is neuter (about things), or masculine (about people). If it’s about ‘people’ then Paul means we aren’t to think about how to raise our ‘personal status,’ rather we ought to associate with ‘lowly people.’ But if it is about ‘things,’ rather than thinking about ‘high things’ we ought to share in doing ‘low things.’ We shouldn’t consider anything below us, because we are all in this together. Paul’s point is that we shouldn’t think of each other in worldly terms i.e. some of us are powerful, or popular, or influential, rather we should think of each other in spiritual terms i.e. we are all brothers and sisters in Christ. There are no ‘high’ Christians or ‘low’ Christians. There are no ‘high’ callings, or ‘low’ callings, rather we are all called to serve in a particular way. A pastor is not ‘better’ than a Sunday School teacher. Paul later writes, ‘there should be no division in the body, [rather] its parts should have equal concern for each other. (1 Cor 12:25)’

 

Application: Do you consider certain Christians better or less than other Christians? Do you think of some Christians as super-Christians and others as normal-Christians? According to Paul we should consider one another as all equal in Christ Jesus. We may have different callings, or gifts, or personalities, but those things don’t make us better or less than anyone else. If you belong to Christ then you are our brother or sister, as simple as that.

 

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, it is so easy to get caught up in the way that the world thinks and look at people in terms of how they function or how they contribute, rather than just the fact that in Christ they are children of God. Lord, help me think of my fellow brothers and sisters, not in terms of how popular, or how influential they are, or even how much like me they are, but in terms of who they are in Christ. Help me not to think too highly of myself, but help me humble myself in order to serve every one in our church. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

 

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