Okay, before I get started with this verse, I want to say I think God’s Word is incredibly amazing! The more I get into it the more I realize it is not only perfect and complete in truth, but also perfect and complete in communicating that Truth! It also just dawned on me that the reason it is this way is because the Word is not just an object; it actually “became flesh and dwelt among us.” It is living and active because Jesus is living and active! It is God-breathed…remember what happens when God breathes?? (See Genesis 2:7) Yep, life comes! Not just heart-pumping, lung-breathing life, but Spiritual Life; the Life of God Himself! That’s why I think God’s Word is so amazing!
The reason why the initial thought came to me is because each time I come to scripture I see quick and powerful “immediate” truths. But after chewing on it awhile, through time and study and context, I see deep and enlightening “hidden” truths! This is why I believe the Word of God to be perfect and complete in communicating truth. And Romans 12:16 is no exception.
“Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.”
Immediate truth – Get along with others and don’t argue. Don’t seek to impress or be a know-it-all, but rather be humble, gentle and sincere. Do not be big-headed!
Now, that may have been true and helpful, but its’s far from complete. Let’s dig a little deeper.
Deeper hidden truths:
First, let me ask a question. What does it mean to “Be of the same mind with one another?” My initial thought was that it could mean to agree with others and not argue about doctrine or controversial issues. After all, Believers have many different opinions that cause a lot of division, so maybe the point is to avoid all the arguing and just get along. This would make sense because the rest of the verse talks about humility. However, I do find one problem with that – this post would be too short if that was all there was to it! Lol 😉
Okay, not really…
But since you are still reading, I would like to propose that the Holy Spirit (through the Apostle Paul) is trying to communicate something greater.
The word “mind” occurs twice in this verse. In the Greek, we find the same word earlier in verse three of this chapter. “…Not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think.” Can you guess which word it is? You got it! It’s the word “think.” The Greek word is “phroneo” and it means to think, have understanding, to direct one’s mind to, to be of one party.
So the verse could also be read, “Be of the same thinking toward one another. Do not set your thinking on high things…” In other words, think the exact same thoughts as one another. To me, this means something more than just be nice to others and don’t argue. And seriously, the world already does that better than the church does. All the “one-world,” “coexist,” “United Nations” stuff really makes God’s children look like kids fighting in the back seat of a car on a road trip! The difference is that the world’s method of getting along is to ignore differences and tolerate everything because truth is relative. This is almost the exact opposite of what God says. He is not saying, “Ignore your differences and be open-minded to other’s opinions.” Truth is not relative and Biblical truth is certainly not! But if that isn’t what God is trying to communicate, then what is He saying?
I think the answer lies in Romans chapter 12 as a whole.
Remember verses four and five? “For we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.” The key here is two words – in Christ. Read it again and emphasize the phrase“in Christ.” You see, we are not just one body in and of ourselves; we are one body when, and only when, we are in Christ.
God’s desire isn’t that we all become united and likeminded with each other. His desire is that we become united with Christ, and when we each do so individually, we will find ourselves united with each other as well.
It’s just like your own physical body. Your hands and feet and mouth and eyes aren’t all focused on trying to keep each other in line and get along. They are each focused and submitted to your mind – the head of your body – and in doing so they work harmoniously to do amazing things! I played baseball for many years as a kid and trust me, if my hands and eyes were not on the same page with my mind, following its instruction, I would have struck out every time! It’s totally pointless for my eyes to try and tell my hands what to do or for my hands to try and tell my eyes what to see. Each must be in tune with my mind in order for my body to function as it should. Likewise, each member of the body of Christ has a different function and must be focused on the head (Jesus Christ.)
Look at Romans 15:5-6. It says the exact same thing as Romans 12:16, but includes a little more insight.
“Now may God… grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Notice that in this verse it tells us how to be link-minded toward one another – “according to Christ Jesus.” And notice the result – “That you may…glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!”
May we strive for oneness with our Heavenly and “set our hearts like flint to seek His face,” that we may “glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”