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Dear COA Family,

A surprising outcome of true worship to God is revealed by the Apostle Paul in Romans 12.

Let me use the New Living Translation’s version:
Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are” (Romans 12:3).

This is a very good rule to live by because pride is at the root of our downfall. Just as we have become knowledgeable and successful by God’s grace but are still weak in our flesh, all of us are prone to thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought. Just look at the scandals that prominent people in our society have found themselves embroiled in – they had most likely thought of themselves as above the law or even common reason. And if we are not careful to learn from their mistakes, we may end up in the same predicament.

And not only that, we have witnessed many conflicts among different people and even nations occurring on a frequent basis. What may be the cause of it all? It is a self-justifying thinking that we are always in the right and others are wrong. This judgmental and harsh perspective has resulted in the fracturing of many relationships and even brought about disunity in families and the church of God!

So, as we start off the new year of growing in fruitfulness, let us examine our hearts truthfully:

  • Have we entered a state of mind where we think we know better than our pastors, leaders or teachers, well-meaning friends or even our own family members?
  • Do we think that we don’t have to heed other peoples’ warnings or listen to their perspectives because we are more knowledgeable?
  • Are we deluded into thinking that our words and stands are all truthful and that everyone else should follow all that we have to say?

Then we may very well have gotten into the state of thinking of ourselves better than we are. The truth of the matter is this: we still have much to learn from one another.

The Apostle Paul continues immediately with the body analogy of the Church of Christ to illustrate this point that “just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other” (Romans 12:4-5).

God has created all of us differently with differing gifts and roles to build up the whole community to grow in fruitfulness. Let us begin this year with the right thinking: we have much to learn from one another no matter what knowledge we possess, heritage we have or position we hold.

Let’s seek to listen to and learn from one another.

God bless,
Revd Ian