Same Mind One Toward Another (Romans 12:16)
Romans 12:16, “Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.”
1. The believer is to “be of the same mind one toward another”.
We are admonished to be of the same attitude toward others. Psalm 133:1, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” The believer is to seek harmony and to associate with the lowly. We are to recognize the fact that every believer is significant. This means we are to avoid partiality and favoritism in the church. We should treat one another the same in Christ equally. Everybody is somebody in God's house. There are no big shots in God's house. There is no big “I’” or little “you”. The ground is level at the cross and we all were saved from sin. We should endeavor to have unity of mind rather than insisting on having our way. This refers primarily to our attitude and behavior toward others. The believer is to strive to understand them. We are to understand others to such a degree that we can completely identify and feel with that person. Just think of the enormous impact such love and empathy would have upon the world in bringing peace and unity and in meeting the desperate needs of so many.
2. The believer is to “mind not high things, but to condescend to men of low estate”.
"High things" refers to seeking the things of preeminence, honor, prestige, and recognition. Haughty in mind literally means "minding high things." Christians are not to be snobbish, nor allow our minds to roam around in the high things of this world. We are to avoid haughtiness and associate with the humble. James is not telling us to ignore the rich, or people of stature, only that we should not favor them over others. Paul is calling for unity among believers. It carries the idea of associating with someone. We are to associate with one another regardless of background or social standing. As Christians, we should treat everyone, from the custodian to the CEO, with the same respect. We should never have favorites but treat everyone as equals because in God's sight we are. When we think we are better than others, we lose the ability and the assertiveness to minister to others.
3. The believer is to “Be not wise in your own conceits”.
The phrase “be not wise in your own conceits” means not acting like know-it-alls or having inflated or overstated opinions of ourselves. The believer is not to be wise in their own eyes. We are not to have too high an opinion of ourselves as though we are above and better than others. Beware of overestimating yourself. Not only is it foolish, but it also borders arrogance and is pride. Scripture warns us that the pride of our hearts deceives us. Obadiah 1:3, “The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee...” The believer is not to walk through life conceited, thinking himself above and better than other persons. We are to walk humbly, knowing that we are not better than anyone else. We are not to be proud, cocky, arrogant, and have a know-it-all attitude thinking we are in anyway superior to others. Proverbs 3:7, “Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil.” This reminds us not to be haughty, imagining that we have all the wisdom and that others have none. A conceited, self-promoting Christian is a serious contradiction. Every believer should be humbly submissive to the will of God found in the Word of God.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote in his autobiography that during his student days in America, he read the Gospels and seriously considered converting to Christianity. So one Sunday, he decided to attend a nearby church and talk to the minister. But when he arrived, the usher refused to give him a seat and suggested he go worship with his own people. He said he left the church and decided, “If Christians have a caste system, I might as well remain a Hindu.” There are no castes of any sort in the body of Christ. That usher not only betrayed Jesus, he turned a person away from trust in Him. For reasons like this one, James, a brother of our Lord, was so emphatic in condemning prejudice. In James 2:1, we find that prejudice is inconsistent with Christ’s teachings; it comes from evil thoughts; it insults people made in God’s image; it is a product of selfish motives; it contradicts the biblical definition of love; it shows a lack of mercy toward the less fortunate; it is hypocritical; and it is sinful. Jesus spent time with the Pharisees, publicans, sinners, poor, rich, sick, and the disciples, because He cared for all and so should we. A church that is seeking to faithfully serve Christ will pursue and eagerly accept all believers into its fellowship. The only required common ground should be a saving relationship with Jesus Christ and unqualified submission to the Word of God.
Points to Ponder:
Those who are wise in their own eyes are rarely so in the eyes of other people.
It is very easy and common to become cliquish while shunning others.
A first class mistake is to treat anyone as a second class citizen.
Questions to Consider:
How can you demonstrate such love and understanding?
Are you practicing humility through true Christian unity?
Which of these three areas do you need to grow closer to the Lord?
PRAYER: Lord, help me to always put others before myself and may I minister to them as I’m ministering to You.
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship.