Honor one another above yourselves…
Scripture: Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. (Romans 12:10)
1-2 So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
When sacrificing an animal according to God’s law, a priest would kill the animal, cut it in pieces, and place it on the altar.
Sacrificing was important, but even in the Old Testament, God mad it clear that obedience from the heart was much more important. (See 1 Samuel 15:22; Psalm 40:6; Amos 5:21-24)
God wants us to offer ourselves, not animals, as living sacrificing – daily laying aside our own desires to follow Him, putting all our energy and resources at His disposal and trusting Him to guide us.
We do this out of gratitude that our sins have been forgiven.
God has good, pleasing, and perfect plans for His children. He wants us to be transformed people with renewed minds, living to honor and obey Him.
Because He wants only what is best for us, and because He gave His Son to make our new life possible, we should joyfully give ourselves as living sacrifices.
Paul warned Christians: “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world.”
Wise Christians decide that much worldly behavior is off-limits for them because it is usually selfish and often corrupting.
Our refusal to conform to this world’s values must go even deeper than just behavior and customs; it must be firmly planted in our mind; “Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.”
It is possible to avoid most worldly customs and still be proud, covetous, selfish, stubborn, and arrogant.
Only when the Holy Spirit renews, reeducates, and redirects our mind are we truly transformed. (See Romans 8:5)
3 I’m speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God has given me, and especially as I have responsibilities in relation to you. Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it’s important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him.
Healthy self-esteem is important because some of us think too little of ourselves; on the other hand, some of us overestimate ourselves.
The key to an honest and accurate self-evaluation is knowing the basis of our self-worth – our identity in Christ.
Apart from Him, we aren’t capable of very much by eternal standards; in Him, we are valuable and capable of worthy service.
Evaluating yourself by the worldly standards of success and achievement can cause you to think too much about your worth in the eyes of others and thus miss your true value in God’s eyes.
4-6 In this way we are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. The body we’re talking about is Christ’s body of chosen people. Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of his body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we wouldn’t amount to much, would we? So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ’s body, 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.
Paul uses the concept of the human body to teach how Christians should live and work together.
Just as the parts of the body function under the direction of the brain, so Christians are to work together under the command and authority of Jesus Christ. (See 1 Corinthians 12:12-31; Ephesians 4:1-16)
God gives us gifts so we can build up His church.
To use them effectively, we must:
- realize that all gifts and abilities come from God;
- understand that not everyone has the same gifts;
- know who we are and what we do best;
- be willing to utilize our gifts wholeheartedly; not holding back anything from God’s service.
God’s gifts differ in nature, power, and effectiveness according to His wisdom and graciousness, not according to our faith.
Our role is to be faithful and to seek ways to serve others with what Christ has given us.
Prophesying in Scripture is not always predicting the future. Often it means preaching God’s messages. (1 Corinthians 14:1-3)
7-8 If you preach, just preach God’s Message, nothing else; if you help, just help, don’t take over; if you teach, stick to your teaching; if you give encouraging guidance, be careful that you don’t get bossy; if you’re put in charge, don’t manipulate; if you’re called to give aid to people in distress, keep your eyes open and be quick to respond; if you work with the disadvantaged, don’t let yourself get irritated with them or depressed by them. Keep a smile on your face.
Look at this list of gifts and imagine the kinds of people who would have each gift.
Prophets are often bold and articulate.
Servers (those in ministry) are faithful and loyal.
Teachers are clear thinkers.
Encouragers know how to motivate others.
Givers are generous and trusting.
Leaders are good organizers and managers.
Those who show kindness and caring people who are happy to give their time to others.
It would be difficult for one person to embody all these gifts.
An assertive prophet would not usually make a good counselor, and a generous giver might fail as a leader.
When you identify your own gifts (and this list is far from complete), ask how you can use them to build up God’s family. At the same time, realize that your gifts can’t do the work of the church all alone.
Let your strengths balance their weaknesses, and be grateful that their abilities make up for your deficiencies.
Together you can build Christ’s church…
9-10 Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.
Most of us have learned how to be courteous to others – how to speak kindly, avoid hurting their feelings, and appear to take an interest in them.
We may even be skilled in pretending to show compassion when we hear others’ needs, or to become indignant when we learn of injustice.
But God calls us to real and genuine love that goes far beyond being hypocritical and polite.
Genuine love requires concentration and effort. It means helping others become better people.It demands our time, money, and personal involvement
No individual has the capacity to express love to a whole community, but the body of Christ in your town does.
Look for people who need your love, and look for ways you and your fellow believers can love your community for Christ.
We can honor others in one of two ways.
One involves ulterior motives.
We honor our bosses so they will reward us, our employees so they will work harder, the wealthy so they they will contribute to our cause, the powerful so they will use their power for us and not against us.
God’s way involves love…
As Christians, we honor people because they have been created in God’s image, because they are our brothers and sisters in Christ, and because they have a unique contribution to make to Christ’s church.
Does God’s way of honoring others sound too difficult for your competitive nature?
Why not try to outdo one another in showing honor?
Put others first!..
11-13 Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.
Christian hospitality differs from social entertaining.
Entertaining focuses on the host: The home must be spotless; the food must be well prepared and abundant
The host must appear relaxed and good natured.
Hospitality, by contrast, focuses on the guest’s needs, such as a place to stay, nourishing food, a listening ear, or just acceptance.
Hospitality can happen in a messy home. It can happen around a dinner table where the main dish is canned soup.
It can even happen while the host and the guest are doing chores together…
Don’t hesitate to offer hospitality just because you are too tired, too busy, or not wealthy enough to entertain.
14-16 Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down. Get along with each other; don’t be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great somebody.
Many people use their contacts and relationships for selfish ambition.
They select these people who will help them climb the social ladder.
Christ demonstrated and taught that we should treat all people with respect – those of a different race, the handicapped, the poor, young and old, male and female.
We must never consider others as being beneath us.
Paul says we need to live in harmony with others and not be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people.
Are you willing to befriend newcomers and entry-level people?
Or do you relate to those who will help you get ahead?
17-19 Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.”
These verses summarize the core of Christian living.
If we love someone the way Christ loves us, we will be willing to forgive.
If we have experienced God’s grace, we will want to pass it on to others.
And remember, grace is undeserved favor…
By giving an enemy a drink, we’re not excusing misdeeds; we’re recognizing, forgiving, and loving that person in spite of their sins against us – just as Christ did for us.
20-21 Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he’s thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness. Don’t let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.
In this day of lawsuits and incessant demands for legal rights, Paul’s command sounds almost impossible
When people hurt you deeply, instead of giving them what they deserve, Paul says to befriend them.
Why does Paul tell us to forgive our enemies?
- Forgiveness may break a cycle of retaliation and lead to mutual reconciliation.
- It may make the enemy feel ashamed, causing a change in that person’s ways.
- By contrast, repaying evil for evil hurts you just as much as it hurts your enemy.
Even if your enemy never repents, forgiving that person will free you of a heavy load of bitterness.
Forgiveness involves both attitudes and actions…
If you find it difficult to feel forgiving toward someone who has hurt you, try responding with kind actions.
IF appropriate, tell this person that you would like to heal your relationship.
Lend a helping hand, send a gift, or smile…
Many times you will discover that right actions lead to right feelings.