Following Christ – A Humble Position
The unique ways that God calls individual believers to serve Him can really seem to complicate the biblical mission, can’t it? It is exceedingly difficult to figure out what God wants from me, personally, as a transformed believer–that is, when I lean on my own understanding. Finding your place and role in God’s kingdom is part of a lifelong practice of prayer and fellowship, but Romans 12:3 gives us insight into how we can figure things out in order to be proactive in the now.
Romans 12:3 (NIV)3 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 faith God has distributed to each of you.
When I am studying a passage of Scripture and trying to come up with the right perspective for a lesson or sermon, something that challenges me as much as it helps me is the ritual of it all. Having prepared lessons quite often for a while now, I have found a decent rhythm that allows me to reliably put together key points and questions that will be engaging, revealing, or even convicting for my audience. Unfortunately, this rhythm also makes things feel easier, which can lead to me spending less time thinking about the difficult questions, and overestimating my own knowledge and skill rather than relying continuously on God’s wisdom. In Romans 12:3, Paul tells us to be sure we do not think of ourselves more highly than we should, and suggests that instead we should use sober judgment and faith. I think this is pretty important! Using sober judgment and the faith that God has given us to evaluate ourselves humbly, serving Christ constantly with servanthood and reverence in our hearts.
But, how? As I said before, and as you alluded in your last post, God may call individuals sometimes to be bold, while calling others to serve quietly. It is arrogant, I suppose, to try and prescribe a one-size-fits-all system for every believer, whether on the large scale of denominational sacraments and traditions, or on the smaller scale of individual outreach, charity, and love. Ultimately, I think it comes down to an individual’s relationship with God, their readiness to hear God’s call, and their willingness to accept it. From there, as fellow members of the Body of Christ, I believe it is our job to take note of the fruit that is being borne, and so long as what we see is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control, to be supportive of the Church.
There is a lot of hatred and anger being allowed to fester in today’s society, but at the same time there is a great outpouring of love going on as people reach out to love their neighbors in more authentic and effective ways. There is a lot of darkness being perpetuated, but I have also witnessed a multitude of lights shining for Christ. It is interesting and complicated, because so often right now the darkness and the light are coming from unexpected places, or even from the same places! Yet, as unpredictable as the world might seem right now, sin is nothing new. And as unstable as the world might seem right now, God remains a sturdy and unmoving foundation.
I am praying today that I can strive not to think of myself too highly, and not to expect others to be called in the same ways to the same battles that God has called me. My question for you this week is, as we look at Romans 12:3 and ahead to the ways that God equips us in unique ways, how do we coordinate effectively so that, in our individual capacities, we are still serving the singular goal of advancing the kingdom of God and His children?