Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.– Romans 12:16
Not only are we to be likeminded, we are to be humbly-minded. “Mind not high things.” The idea is to not have more respect for high things than low things. This can be applied to people as well as tasks. We should not have respect of persons. Neither should we have respect of tasks. Picking up a candy wrapper from the floor is just as important as tidying up the area around the pulpit. You may say, “Well! God’s Word is preached from the pulpit! That’s a lot more sacred than the floor beneath a candy wrapper!” Hmmm . . . are you saying God can’t deal with someone on that floor that’s been overshadowed by a candy wrapper? That candy wrapper declares that someone in the church has a low enough view towards the Lord and His building that he desires it to be filthy. It’s disrespect toward God. It’s disrespect toward His work. It’s disrespect for His church. Do not MIND high things. God has used a donkey (Numbers 22:29-34) and a lost prostitute (Joshua 2:9-13) to save people alive! God can have His Word preached ANYWHERE. God can use ANYBODY. Don’t you think that God can only use a preacher. God can use YOU! God can use ANYBODY THROUGH ANY TASK – no matter how seemingly big or small. Next time you pass by a candy wrapper on the floor, don’t you think it beneath your dignity to pick it up. That kind of attitude is spiritually immature and belittles God. God alone is worthy to be glorified and praised. He alone is HIGH and MIGHTY. This means that EVERY task done for HIM is honorable!
We should not mind high things in regards to people as well. We should not necessarily mind “superior” people for their superiority. We should respect authority, yes (Romans 13). Respect is lacking big time today. But we should not MIND them for their SUPERIORITY. That person was born no better than anyone else. God raises people up and takes them down. We have one LORD. It is a shame to see Born-Again Believers place their confidence and trust in an earthly person to the extent that they are more excited to talk about him than the LORD of LORDS! Mind not high things when it comes to people. James has this to say –
“1 My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. 2 For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; 3 And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: 4 Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts? 5 Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? 6 But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats? 7 Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called? 8 If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: 9 But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.” – James 2:1-9
I’ve seen it! I’ve seen Born-Again Believers in the church mumble beneath their breath, cut eyes, and stick their nose up in the air when someone walks into the church with an old, beat up, overly large suit coat and ragged pants. I’ve seen Born-Again Believers avoid that person in welcoming him into the church. I’ve also seen them rush to greet a visitor with nicely laundered clothes and a well-groomed face. This is EXACTLY what James is talking about! When we mind high things, we are judging some things to be higher than others. When it comes to people, we’ve ALL been created in the same image! That well-groomed man was created in the same image as the man who was not so well-groomed! God loved us when we were UNLOVABLE. Our righteousnesses were as FILTHY RAGS (Isaiah 64:6). You know what these filthy rags are? These rags are the dirtiest garments you’d find in the darkest, dirtiest houses of prostitution. THAT’S what OUR righteousnesses are like. That’s far lower than a visitor who is not so well-groomed. But even with our righteousnesses as filthy rags, God still loved us! God still picked us up, washed us off, and is not ashamed to call us brethren (Hebrews 2:11). Wow!
Instead, we should “condescend to men of low estate.” “Condescend” is a word which has taken on a definition in modern times directly opposite to its true definition. The word comes from directly from the Latin “condescendere,” which means to let oneself down, stoop or with descension. Today it means to feel superior. If we are to condescend to men of low estate, we are to stoop down and let ourselves down to their level. This doesn’t mean we were already higher. This meant we already THOUGHT ourselves higher in our MINDS. Nobody is beneath us but those already burning in hell because we did not reach them! I sure don’t want to have blood on my hands because I thought somebody so beneath me to not reach out to that person in love.
“For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” – Romans 12:3