Romans 12:3- “For by the grace [of God] given to me I say to everyone of you not to think more highly of himself [and of his importance and ability] than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has apportioned to each a degree of faith [and a purpose designed for service].” AMP
Romans 12 is one of those chapters that is rich with biblical teachings that are applicable to everyone. As we have already seen in the first two verses, Paul has encouraged every believe to yield themselves to God, because it is the least that we can do in response to His goodness!
Now Paul is getting into what that service looks like. He starts off by stating, “don’t think more highly of yourself than you should!” This says to me that I can think highly of myself and my abilities, just not more highly than I should!
The Greek words for the phrase, think more highly, is hyperphroneō para. The English translation of hyperphroneō is “to be overly proud or high-minded”. Para, on the other hand means “with, in the estimation of”. Putting this phrase together, we can see that Paul was saying that we are not to be overly proud or high-minded in regards to our estimation of ourselves.
There are times when we can be pretty tough on our self-image. Most of us have suffered from low self-esteem at one time or another in our life. It’s more common than we think! Self-esteem is our opinion of ourself. Low self-esteem is when we are unhappy or unsatisfied with ourself most of the time. Placing our self esteem in the palm of Jesus is the best way to keep it healthy and in proper perspective!
As Christians we are taught to be humble and meek, and we often misunderstand these words to be words of weakness and not strength. But you can have a healthy self-esteem and still walk in humility and meekness. Jesus did it everyday!
Paul, a man who was confident in his calling and his assignment, a man of great natural intelligence, and a man with deep spiritual convictions saw God do amazing things through him; and yet he said that we are not to think more highly of ourselves than we should!
That says to me that I can think highly of myself, I just can’t have an overestimation of who I am, and in what I do! To do so, is to pollute the gifts and talents that I possess of God, and that is a shame!
God is great, and everything He does, He does well! During creation He looked at His handiwork and approved it:
Then God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters He called Seas. And God saw that it was good.Genesis 1:9-10 NKJV
It’s important to know yourself and to have an honest opinion of yourself and your capabilities. When writing a resume, you have to “know yourself” and your capabilities! When sitting in an interview, you have to know yourself in order to convince the interviewer you are the best candidate for the job! When operating on a patient, you have to be confident that you can handle the procedure for the well-being of your patient. But you are not to have an over estimation of yourself, even when others apply high esteem towards you! It will cause your gifts and talents to become polluted!
It’s also important to know your weaknesses, and things you need to work on. An individual who believes there are no weakness in their life, is an arrogant individual. We all have strengths and weaknesses!
Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. Better to be of a humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.Proverbs 16:18-19 NKJV
False modesty is when in your heart you think yourself fully capable of a thing, yet you down play it to others, acting as if it is no big deal, but you really believe it is a big deal. To thine own self be true! These are words from the Shakespeare play, “Hamlet”; advice from a father to his son! It has a lot of meanings, but for this blog I am saying, learn how to be true to yourself, how to be honest about you with you!
Paul brings this subject up as a precursor to talking about gifts and the measure of faith. The statement was made:
Spiritual giftedness does not equate spiritual maturity!David Guzik, Blueletterbible.org
This is so true! A person can be gifted by God to do all sorts of things like singing and preaching, but lack the spiritual maturity to handle the accolades, or even the opportunities that could come with that gift. There is a responsibility that comes with gifts and talents, and Paul is saying that a major responsibility is to not get caught up in pride!
God has given everyone a measure of faith! We all demonstrate our ability to believe when we come to Jesus. Faith will grow and be developed as we exercise it, nurture it, hear the word, and build ourselves up in faith. But when what we do cease to glorify God, it is no longer of faith, but of the flesh! Before we get started into how God has gifted us, I leave us with the words of Jesus:
Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.Matthew 7:22-23 KJV
Don’t pollute the gifts that God has placed on the inside of you! If you trust Him, He will bless your gifts and expand them; if you trust your gift, you can find yourself being a castaway! I’m looking forward to exploring these gifts together! Wonderful Jesus!