ROMANS 12:3-5 – For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
THEME OF THE DAY. THE SURE-FIRE WAY TO GET ALONG. Relationships are hard. Relationships are also messy. Things are said that cannot be retracted. Actions are done that cannot be taken away. But relationships are also wonderful. They bring us happiness, encouragement, companionship, and are the chief reason God created us – relationships for His glory with Himself and each other. Someday, relationships will be perfected as God intended. However, someday is not today. Sin still exists and it is like a stick of dynamite lying dormant in our hearts with a short fuse ready to be lit and cause great damage in any relationship – friend, family, workplace, and church. Though sin may do great harm, polarizing people maybe for a lifetime, we don’t have to “light the fuse” on the sinful sticks of dynamite in our still yet to be purged hearts. Today’s scripture will help us to that end.
The Apostle Paul is unfolding a description of ministry in the body of Christ; of the diversity of spiritual gifts and their applications. But there is a principle that applies beyond just functioning together in a church or ministry. It is the sure-fire way to get along with people with whom we have relationships. He writes, “I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought” (Romans 12:3). Think on these questions for a moment – what is the primary cause of relational tension, be it anger, impulsive speech, or vindictive attitudes and actions in relationships? Pride. And what does pride say? “My way. My rights. My agenda. My preference. My schedule” and if our relationships get messy, more often than not, it is because things simply are not the way we think they should be or the way we don’t deserve. Underlying all of this messiness of pride in relationships is we are violating what Paul exhorted us against – do not think more highly of yourself than you ought. We tend to think more highly of ourselves than we should because we forget who we really are.
Imagine the quick defusing of tension in relationships or even the prevention of the start of tension if we paused and realized just exactly who we are. If we get into our heads and hearts who we truly are as God’s children, then we will go a long way in maintaining healthy relationships. So, with that, here are two things guiding us to a sure-fire way to get along.
First, we are slaves to Jesus Christ with no rights, no agenda, no schedule, and no preferences apart from His rights, His agenda, His schedule and His preferences (Romans 6:15-19). How does this truth apply in relationships? Humility that says, “I am not my own, but belong to Jesus. I defer to the interests of others, just like my Master.” When humility reigns in a heart, selfish pride cannot and thus the fuse on the “dynamite of sin” in our hearts causing messy relationships will remain unlit.
Another thing to remember which will help us get along in all our relationships is we are “grace-dependent” people, not sometimes, but all the time. The Apostle Paul identifies grace-dependent people – But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me (1 Corinthians 15:10). Realize that without constant grace, there is no control of the tongue, no renewal of the mind toward a God-honoring attitude, and no life lived overcoming pride – the fuel of messy relationships.
Yes, we can have and maintain healthy relationships even in the midst of tension. Just remember who we are and watch the Lord strengthen us by His grace to get along with all people because of who we are.
PRAYER: “Father, help me to see myself as a person always in need of grace.”
QUOTE: “When we see how weak and vulnerable to selfishness we are, grace becomes a daily plea in our lives.”