24th March 2012

The Only Sensible Response – Humility

“For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself  more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.”
Romans 12:3 (NKJV)

Paul is raising the problem of vanity, of having an elevated view of oneself.  Sadly, we all know people like this and experience the revulsion that it causes.  Since he is going to address the oneness of the body of Christ, he first deals with the thing that can undo that oneness, the idea that we are better, cleverer, more able, more gifted, more worthy than someone else.  This attitude is clearly destructive to the concept of oneness.

The solution, as the apostle points out, is really quite simple but perhaps not so simple for someone in this position to apply.

We really have to take a long look at ourselves in clear light.  Because of our fallen nature that has produced in us a heart that is deceitful, we can easily fool ourselves even when we have not succeeded in fooling others.  To face up to ourselves is the most difficult of things, but it is a beginning of wisdom.  What we have done is usurp the place of God—we have credited to ourselves the things that belong to God.

Paul’s instruction is to think soberly!  To think about God’s role in whatever we have received.  To remember that God has dealt it to us, and to turn our vanity, our high regard of self, toward regard for God as the source of everything that we have.

It should be easy to recognise those who have received much from God, because they will be the most humble, self-effacing people, constantly living in the shadow of God’s graciousness.  They will not be looking for the limelight or seeking centre stage.  Rather they will be quick to recognise giftedness in others, and praise God for what he is doing in and through them.

We can begin by acknowledging ourselves for what we really are, then ask God to strengthen our resolve to be more like our Saviour, Jesus, who laid down his life for all of us.  That resolve can be strengthened by regular, prayerful Bible study.

Father in heaven, thank you for all you have done for me and given me.  Help me see that is all your grace and not of my doing.  Help me to be humbled by these gifts and to seek only to glorify you as the source of everything and the only one worthy of praise and glory and honour.

Study by David Stirk

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