Scripture for Week of January 5-11

Romans 12: 3-8 (NIV)

3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. 4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

17 replies
  1. Pastor Joey
    Pastor Joey says:

    In Romans 12:3-8 we discover that God has granted every believer the wonderful blessing of participating in something greater and more important than himself – the body of Christ. God has even provided special gifts to make us inter-dependent upon one another and together dependent upon Him – that we may spur one another along toward love and Great Commission acts of service. To participate in such a grand community of faith requires two items – a willingness to be engaged in the life of the faith community and an accurate perspective of who we are.

    In verse 3, Paul gently reminds us to neither think too highly or too lowly of our selves – but to think accurately of ourselves. This is true humility. Humility is never conceited, and yet it can have confidence. Humility is never arrogant, and yet, it most certainly can possess competence. So to rightly understand who we are (and whose we are) can breed us the ability to be steadfast, immoveable, and always abounding in the work of the Lord with great faithfulness while never allowing our God-given talents and abilities to get the big-head thinking it is all about us. As one surrendered on the altar of God as a living sacrifice (see Romans 12:1-2), it is only reasonable to embrace that my life is not just for God’s purposes, but also for God’s people. And yet, so long as I have an inaccurate view (not God’s view) of my life – thinking either too much or too little of myself – I will find that I will not serve others thinking I’m too good for such a role, or I will never allow others to serve me thinking I am not good enough to be served.

    So take a step back and take in a deep spiritual breath this day to consider that no matter who you are, what you have or have not achieved, whether you think you are good or bad – you are nothing more and nothing less than a person in desperate need of the grace and favor of God. Your worth is not found in anything other than the amazing grace of God – all else is folly. And suppose that along life’s journey you have discovered and embraced His grace, then consider that He has now called you to be His hands, His feet, and His voice to others as you seek first His kingdom and righteousness. You are not your own.

  2. Steve Skowronski
    Steve Skowronski says:

    Thanks Pastor, Now I know I am nothing more and nothing less than the grace and favor of God. I know that I am not on my own.

  3. Kay Carroll
    Kay Carroll says:

    It is very though-provoking that not only are we not to be “puffed up” and think to highly of ourselves but to also allow others to serve us if we have a need for service. Often times our foolish pride keeps us from allowing others to help meet our needs. Self-sufficiency is not always correct in God’s eyes.

  4. Pastor Joey
    Pastor Joey says:

    Another passage to consider in light of Romans 12:3-8 is Ephesians 2:10. Because of the grace of God received by our faith response to God’s love and mercy – we have become God’s workmanship created to do good works to honor Him and to serve others to Him.

    For we are God’s workmanship (handiwork), created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10

  5. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    So true, Kay. How often do we deny someone else a blessing because of our pride/false humility by not lettibg them serve as God is leading.

  6. Dale Rinkenberger
    Dale Rinkenberger says:

    We shouldn’t think more highly of ourselves than we ought:
    • On one hand, I puff myself up and diminish God, and this verse reminds me I shouldn’t. Whether the verses in Job 38-42 (Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundations? Who marked off its dimensions?) or the Louie Giglio discussion via “How Great is our God”, I’m reminded of the indescribable vastness of the universe and how the earth, my small part of the earth and ultimately me are infinitesimally small by comparison.
    • On the other hand, I need to be careful not to think of myself less than I ought. The greatness of God shouldn’t make me feel so small and insignificant that I have no worth. I have been so carefully crafted in my mother’s womb and have so much value that the God of the universe would have his son crucified on my behalf, in order to have a relationship with me
    • There is tension here: I am so small in relationship to the glory of God – I understand little – and this creates humility. However, I have been carefully knit together in my mother’s womb. I am the pinnacle of all of God’s creation, and the God of the universe died for me.

  7. Dale Rinkenberger
    Dale Rinkenberger says:

    We are many parts but one body
    • Reminds me of putting together a team at work. I need to hire a strong analyst, an expert IT code writer, an airline industry expert, and someone who knows how other departments in DL work. This variety of expertise broadens the collective potential of the team.
    • Example: in one staff meeting, I can discuss a problem with our New York to Tokyo flight, and the team in response can discuss industry dynamics, how other departments are addressing the issue, analytics/reporting that could shed light on the problem, and the technical hurdles that will have to be overcome to create the needed reporting. If I simply hire good analysts, I can’t ever get to a good well rounded solution.
    • This work example may be analogous to the body of Christ. There is a variety of expertise in the body that when working as a team can help address/solve issues important to God. Are there kids not getting school lunches in PTC? A solution delivered by another church in town leveraged administrative skills, the generosity of several, missionary tactics, etc. Could this solution be reached with only administrative skills? Or only generosity? No.
    • Secondary thought: this same team example works well at Delta because we have C-level executives and other leaders who are in front of government committees, Port Authorities, other metro organizations, or they are quickly trying to solve a problem. When they reach out to us, we need to drop what we are doing to get them the information they need to solve this problem. Depending on the problem, our leaders will reach out to the appropriate subject matter expert. Is this analogous to how God works? God (as a manager of the universe) has followers (employees) ready and willing to step in to solve a problem. Does someone need encouragement? God can have your neighbor stop by. Does someone need funds, God can use a series of connections to get the info back to a PTC Life Group who can collect money/supplies to help. Like in our jobs, we need to be ready to drop what we are doing when the call comes. And we need to hear the call. Then we need to get to work.

  8. Dale Rinkenberger
    Dale Rinkenberger says:

    Think of ourselves with sober judgment:
    • Forbes had an article that encouraged people do a personal SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats). This exercise is done often for businesses or divisions within businesses, but may also be appropriate on a personal level. When I hear “think of ourselves with sober judgment”, I think of this.
    • I know I gloss over my weaknesses and I try not to think about threats (I just hope they don’t come to fruition). This translates into me not addressing my weaknesses and I don’t have a plan to deal with threats.
    • Can this also apply to my Christian walk? I think so. I need to think about an action plan to drastically deal with areas in my life to strengthen my weaknesses and deal with threats. Are images via my iPad causing me to sin? Are there relationships at work that generate impure thoughts? End them. It is better for me to enter heaven without an iPad and a harmful relationship than to endure eternal punishment

  9. Kim Hamilton
    Kim Hamilton says:

    I like how The Message translation sums up part of these verses, “…let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t.” If we would each dutifully commit to fulfilling our own functions, how amazing could the work of the church be?!

    This quote also puts it nicely.
    Don’t shine so others can see you. Shine so that through you, others can see Him. — C.S. Lewis

  10. David Bearden
    David Bearden says:

    Praise God for His abounding, unending, all-encompassing Grace that has been given to all of us. I think this passage is awesome–especially since over the past couple of days I’ve been struggling with what to write. Unfortunately it’s taken me this long because I’m more focused on writing something profound and intelligent than focusing on the simplicity of God’s voice. Kind of funny that I’m attempting to respond to a verse that deals with humility.

    At any rate, my experience just demonstrates the importance of this verse in a culture that glorifies and deifies self.
    “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you
    ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has
    distributed to each of you.”

    We are all equal in God’s eyes; and every gift has been “distributed” by the Father for the glory of the Father. Sober judgement leads one to see that there is no place for boasting about self in the realm of human achievement, because gifts from the Father are given–not earned (though hard to do in a culture where this image is burned into our brains). Thus, like a body of many parts, God has empowered us to use our given abilities to edify and unify the church body–“and each member belongs to all the others.”– for His glory not our own. It is a challenge for all of us to be obedient with our gifts to use them in this manner to reach the world for Christ rather than leave a legacy for ourselves.

  11. Art Fulks
    Art Fulks says:

    It would seem to have made sense to put the ‘proper self-perception’ statement of verse 3 after the discussion of engaging our gifts. It is easy at times to place higher human value on particular gifts. But as I questioned its locations and considered why verse 3 started with this, God seemed to remind me that it is an encompassing statement that applies as well to what had just preceeded it in verses 1-2. I can also get an inaccurate perception of placing a higher spiritual value on what I consider a more pleasing ‘living sacrifice’. God is the One who sees the genuine value of our personal worship and the One who gives value to whatever gift(s) we may have to engage for His glory.

  12. Susan Davis
    Susan Davis says:

    We are Gods hands, feet, and voice for people around us every day. When God speaks to us we need to be open and willing to do his will. Daily we need to seek him and reflect his love. Sunday school is so important because of the support and incouragement from other members of God’s body.

  13. Holly Anderson
    Holly Anderson says:

    “Great people don’t do great things, God does great things through surrendered people.” Emily Brewer shared this quote from Jeannie Allen and I thought it spoke perfectly to what these verses are saying. God has equipped us to do great things for his glory if we will surrender to him.

  14. JHC
    JHC says:

    If you are a “living sacrifice,” then you have given your talents/skills/gifts to God. With this in mind, this passage makes me think of 3 words…
    (1) Evaluation… “think of yourself in sober judgment” Take time to really think about your talents/skills/gifts, and do so with humility.
    (2) Accountability… “each member belongs to all the others” We should help others by helping them use their talents/skills/gifts for Christ. Additionally, we should be receptive to others when they try to help us. Don’t be jealous of someone’s talents/skills/gifts, yet be encouraging and joyful that he/she is using his/her talents for Christ.
    (3) Responsibility… “if your gift is…” This is a commandment not a request. For our own spiritual development as well as the development of God’s kingdom, we must use our talents/skills/gifts for God. Not using your talents/skills/gifts to glorify God is a sin.

  15. Jamie Fowler
    Jamie Fowler says:

    Just as it says in Philippians 2:3,4 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humanity consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. ”
    Being available to be used by God is an important issue. Sometimes our own desires and ambition gets in the way. So much that we can’t hear God’s will.

  16. Tom Pape
    Tom Pape says:

    I feel this also challenges us as a church to seek out the talents of its members to allow them to serve where they feel Christ is leading them.

  17. Theresa Lewis
    Theresa Lewis says:

    If we would just go out and serve, teach, encourage, give or be merciful without expectation of reward or recognition. For haven’t we as Christians already received the ultimate reward? How are we to think we are better and more deserving than that? We should be humble in our approach and be a light to others. Encourage others through actions.

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