Romans 12:3 ESV
“For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.”
The grace of God is a gift to us who believe in Jesus to be Lord and Savior of our lives. Our salvation from sin is a gift to us, of God’s grace. And, the faith to believe in Jesus Christ is also God’s gift to us. So, we have no reason ever to boast as though we did not receive all this from God (Eph. 2:8-10).
So, we are not to think of ourselves more highly than we ought. So, this means we are also not to think of ourselves lowlier than we ought, too. So, whether we are puffing ourselves up or we are putting ourselves down, it is still pride, for it is still about self. If we are trying to make ourselves look better than we are, or if we are demeaning ourselves, it is still focused in self, and both are about getting others to give us attention. Not good.
Instead, we are to have a realistic and honest view of ourselves. And, we are to give credit and glory to God, and not to ourselves, for what God is accomplishing in and through our lives. It doesn’t mean that God does it all and we do nothing, as though we are marionettes on strings, though. We still must choose to obey. But what we do as followers of Jesus should be done in the power of God and in his strength, and not of ourselves.
Romans 12:4-5 ESV
“For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.”
God made us all different. We are all uniquely designed by God for a specific purpose. But we are all necessary. Not one of us should feel as though we are less important and thus not needed, nor should others treat us as though we are less valuable, and thus not wanted or welcomed (1 Co. 12).
Now, this does not mean that we aren’t discerning or that we are not testing the spirits. But, if we do test the spirits, we need to make certain we are doing so by biblical standards, taken in biblical context, and not by human standards, nor by personal prejudice, nor by the traditions of men.
We have to be so careful that we don’t exclude members of the body of Christ from our fellowships and from ministry opportunities within the body of Christ based on worldly criteria, especially if we embrace the ungodly and include them in the fellowships of church congregations.
For God placed all of us, who have genuine faith in Jesus Christ, together as one body. And, he made us individual members of the body of Christ. So, we are to function together as one body, and each part should do its work for the building up of the body of Christ unto unity of faith in Jesus Christ, and unto spiritual maturity in Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Romans 12:6-8 ESV
“Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.”
We aren’t all gifted in the same way. Even if many of us have the same gift, it may be expressed in many different ways which are unique to the individuals. And, that is a good thing as long as it is not contrary to the fundamentals of the Christian faith and practice, as defined in Scripture.
We must be so careful, though, that we don’t put God in a man-made “box,” and that we limit him, and how he works, to the mindset of man-made religion. For, look at all the many ways in which God used people since the creation of humans. God is not confined to human methods. He is not obligated to “We’ve always done it this way,” unless it is God’s way.
So, we need to be very cautious about assigning methodology to spiritual gifts that is not of God and thus ends up shutting out sincere servants of the Lord from opportunities to use their gifts within the body of Christ.
Yes, everything needs to be tested, but by God’s standards, not by human standards, and especially not by business marketing schemes which teach how to draw in large crowds of people from the world to church gatherings. And, the equipping of the saints for ministry must also be by God’s standards, not by the standards of Marketing 101 for churches.
In other words, we need to make a place for everyone within the body of Christ to minister to the body of Christ using the gifts assigned to him or her by the Spirit of God, and then permit them to fulfill the God-given roles assigned to them by God, and not by humans.
Everything should be done in order, and everything should agree with the Word of God and not be contrary to the teachings of Scripture. But we need, as the body of Christ, to make room for the gifts and ministries God has given to all of us. For, the building up of the body of Christ happens as each part does its work to the glory of God (Eph. 4:1-16; 1 Co. 12:1-31).
So, let each part do its work.
Near the Cross
Hymn lyrics by Fanny J. Crosby, 1869
Music by William H. Doane, 1869
Jesus, keep me near the cross;
There a precious fountain,
Free to all, a healing stream,
Flows from Calvary’s mountain.
Near the cross, a trembling soul,
Love and mercy found me;
There the bright and morning star
Sheds its beams around me.
Near the cross! O Lamb of God,
Bring its scenes before me;
Help me walk from day to day
With its shadow o’er me.
Near the cross I’ll watch and wait,
Hoping, trusting ever,
Till I reach the golden strand
Just beyond the river.
In the cross, in the cross,
Be my glory ever,
Till my raptured soul shall find
Rest beyond the river.
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