In Romans 12:3, Paul makes a critical call for us to not think more highly of ourselves than we ought. Let us heed that call. It’s become annoyingly cliché to say we live in unprecedented times. To whatever extent that is true, we can certainly say that we live in days in which everyone has their own opinion and experience, particularly as it relates to our world situation. Here’s what Paul would say – hold your opinion loosely. Consider that your brother or sister may see things differently, and may be valid in doing so. They may even be right, and you might be wrong. Either way, you can safely assume that all of us need lots of Grace. So hold tightly those things which we know to be true – the truths of God and His Word. But consider your opinions and your estimation of yourself to be of little importance. More directly germane to the text of Romans 12, consider with humility the gifts God has given you, and how you might use them in the church and in the service of others. The Lord has kindly and graciously given you some real way to serve and bless others. How might you use that? As you use such gifts, be sure to hold them in proper perspective. You make a valuable contribution to the church, but you are not the church. The church may be blessed by you, but the church does not need you. Like Moses, we are all eminently replaceable. So be careful not to think too highly of yourself, or too lowly of others.
In the next few verses, Paul will show a better way – to outdo one another in showing honor. I love this verse. It calls for godly competition. Are you a competitive person? Compete with one another in this. See who can show the most honor to the other person. Instead of defending yourself (which only demonstrates insecurity and that you do not trust God to justify you in Jesus); take up the cause of others. Give them praise and honor. Talk a big game about others in the church, and show appreciation as if it’s a sport and there’s a trophy to be won. This is life-giving stuff, and I love it. And if I’m honest, I greatly appreciate being on the receiving end of such honor. We all need such encouragement. What a delightfully counter-cultural church we would be if we were a place that outdid one another in showing honor to others. It takes selflessness. It takes the Spirit and God’s grace. It takes genuine love for one another, which is more than possible for a people well-loved and forgiven by their Lord.