Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Who We Really Are

"For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you." (Romans 12:3)

If we want to keep things in perspective, there are two things we have to bear in mind. We have to remember who God is, and we have to remember who we are. If we know who God is, it should not be too difficult to remember who we are! When we understand the true state of affairs, we realize that we can accomplish nothing of significance in this world apart from the grace of God.

This can only make us humble. Paul shows his humility as he begins this verse, for he says that it is only by the grace given to him that he is able to exercise his apostolic authority and give them advice and commands. Similarly, knowing that all things come to us from grace should keep us from thinking too highly of ourselves.

But Paul goes on to encourage us to think of ourselves soberly, or accurately. Paul is saying that just as we are not to think too highly of ourselves, neither are we to think too lowly of ourselves. Our value comes from God, and we are not to despise that God-given value. It is very difficult for us to make a sober evaluation of ourselves. We tend to judge ourselves with rose-colored glasses one day and then look at ourselves with a jaundiced eye the next. We excuse ourselves one day and are too harsh on ourselves the next.

Having called on us to evaluate ourselves rightly, Paul then discusses the diversity of gifts in the church, which is Christ’s body (vv. 4–8). None of us is complete in himself or herself. We need the gifts God has given to others, and so we desire that they make sober evaluations of themselves. In this way, they can make proper contributions to the body. Likewise, we need to make sober evaluations of our own gifts, so that we can be of service to others.

Tests can show us our psychological inclinations, talents, and aptitudes. These can be valuable for us in assessing our strengths and gifts. In turn, learning our gifts will make us more useful members of Christ’s body. Call your minister and see if he has any such evaluations you might take. Through discussion and prayer with others, make a genuine effort to evaluate yourself and discover your gifts.