Special unity in an unlinked world. Romans 12
How can we outdo one another in a positive way, as talked about in verse 10? We were not created to be separate from one another so the current situation is especially trying. People are afraid of one another these days. So how do we accomplish spiritual unity in the midst of this situation. 3 ways we can outdo one another:
Discernment, how we think, our attitudes towards one another. In verse 1 and 2 of Romans 12, Paul is really addressing a corporate body, a collective unit that offers itself up as a sacrifice. God’s people, us, cannot be led by the spirit of the age, to think and act a certain way as dictated by our culture. Our minds are to be transformed, we are to think differently. How do we do that? We test things to improve our discernment. Reading a headline in the news is not testing. Testing happens through dialogue with one another. One way to use good discernment is to not always say what we think, don’t always post on social media what we think. So we need to quit talking so much on social media, conforming to the world. Often the things that are posted are not well thought out, are not things we would say were we face-to-face with someone. Another way to improve discernment is to not be haughty, verse 16. Brethren are being separated on grounds that are pathetic. Think with sober judgment he also says. What’s my top priority? My freedom? My health? It should be neither of those. Our number one priority needs to be the kingdom of heaven. Anything else that is our priority is an idol. That is not good discernment. Jesus death was for the good of all mankind, that was His number one priority. In Galatians 6 the Bible says to restore someone in a spirit of gentleness; if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. Let each person test himself. That is discernment.
Usefulness. A lot of what we do online serves no purpose, it’s completely useless. Paul encourages us to be useful, find our gifts and use them in service to the kingdom. Service in the kingdom includes things like Bible study but it goes beyond that, it includes our secular life. Everything we do to serve others is part of our spiritual life. Our spiritual life should be influencing everything we do. Our agenda is Christ and Him crucified, it is not all of these other things going on around us. We can be patient in tribulation, verse 12, when we realize there is something more important than what is going on in this life. Usefulness includes how we use our time and our resources. Any leader of God’s people needs to be a unifier.
Showing honor. He doesn’t say outdo one another with scientific articles and peer reviews and facts. He doesn’t say outdo one another with passive aggressive social media comments. And yet, what do we see? We are a family. We are brothers and sisters. How do we interact when we disagree on worldly matters? How do we so civilly? One way is to say things to one another face to face. When we’re face to face, things are usually much better. Another way is to stop demanding that everyone share my perspective on everything. Another way is to learn to show sympathy. How do we do that? Everyone wants to be seen, heard and understood. Romans 15:5-7: Live in harmony with one another in accord with Christ Jesus that together you may with one voice glorify God.
We are all Gods children. He wants us to live in harmony. Let’s outdo one another in these ways. That is how we will make a difference in our community.