“Honor one another above yourselves.” Romans 12:10b
After describing the cooperative dynamic between Christians within a church, Paul commissioned the Roman church by describing how they were to live out their faith. He first addressed how they were to practice their faith between each other:
1. Asserting that love must be genuine (v.9a);
2. Directing them to hate all evil (v.9b);
3. Commanding them to cling to goodness – God’s number-one character trait (v.9c);
4. Leading them to be devoted to one another in brotherly love (v.10a);
5. Teaching them how devotion to each other is achieved –
HONOR ONE ANOTHER ABOVE YOURSELVES (v.10b);
6. Exhorting them to keep their spiritual fervor for serving the Lord zealously (v.11);
7. Their hope was to be expressed joyfully (v.12a);
8. They were to endure affliction patiently (v.12b);
9. Their prayers were to offered faithfully to God (v.12c);
10. They were to practice hospitality, especially the poorer members (v.13).
Paul provided the Corinthian church with a more thorough explanation of genuine love (read 1 Corinthians 13). Genuine love is patient, kind, never envious, boastful, proud, rude, self-seeking or easily angered; and authentic love keeps no record of wrongs, and neither does love delight in evil. Indeed, genuine love rejoices in the truth, protects, trusts, hopes, and perseveres. In this description, Paul offered sixteen verbs, eight of which were positive and eight of which were negative.
The late-coming apostle also elaborated on the difference between evil and good in his letter to the Galatians (read chapter 5, verses 13-26). Paul espoused the attributes of freedom: not to be abused by indulging the sinful nature, but to extend God’s love to each other and the world. He described how good and evil are in conflict with each other (vv. 16 – 17). He described the sinful nature as obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, debauchery, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, discord (dissensions and factions), jealousy, fits of rage, selfishness, envy, drunkenness, and orgies (Galatians 5:19-21). There was no mincing of terms, Paul wanted them to know without a doubt that the culture of the world is completely different from God’s desire for people. God desires His people to know and practice the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (vv. 22 – 23).
The lives of Christ-followers are just as obvious as those who live evil lives. Goodness sets one apart as a persistent light in a world of darkness. When Christians honor one another above themselves, they exhibit authentic love which is the litmus test before the world of being a fully devoted follower of Christ (read John 13:35).
I highly recommend the book by Charles Colson, “The Body”. Though lengthy, it is one of the best books on the subject of the church: its mission and dynamics. I also highly recommend books by Jim Cymballa, pastor of Brooklyn Tabernacle Church (“The Church God Blesses”; “Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire”, and others).
HONOR ONE ANOTHER ABOVE YOURSELVES.
Have a blessed day…