Monday – April 16, 2018 – It Takes Grace to Use Your Gift.
Romans 12:3-5 (NIV) 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. 4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.
It’s an ancient problem and not just a modern one. It didn’t just exist in Paul’s day, it was also a problem in Jeremiah’s day; some 600 years before Paul wrote Romans. The problem is that people think too highly of themselves. People need to feel loved and valued. Everyone needs that, but few people know how to go about getting it. Because we need it so badly, we’ll take it any way that we can and that usually involves forming too high an opinion of ourselves. The solution to that is not to form too low an opinion of yourself either. The need is not to think less about yourself; it is to think about yourself less. That is a critical distinction.
The motivational gifts are meant to help us think of ourselves with sober judgment by helping us understand that we must rely on others for our own well-being. In America, the word “reliance” isn’t as popular as the word “independence.” We all like to think that we are self-reliant; that we are not dependent on the production of others. That is not the case. We cannot boast in ourselves; we can only boast in the Lord.
Jeremiah 9:23-24 (NIV) This is what the Lord says:
“Let not the wise boast of their wisdom
or the strong boast of their strength
or the rich boast of their riches,
24 but let the one who boasts boast about this:
that they have the understanding to know me,
that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness,
justice and righteousness on earth,
for in these I delight,”
declares the Lord.
It is the Lord who saw fit to cause us to rely on others, but at the same time to look only to Him for our validation. It is not that we are not supposed to boast, or as the King James Version says, “glory in,” it is to know what to glory in. If you are wise, don’t glory in your wisdom; if you are strong, don’t glory in your strength, and if you are rich, don’t glory in your riches. None of those things add value to your life.
Glory in knowing the Lord; not just that you know the Lord, but that we know that He is kind and just and righteous. Get your self-worth from knowing that God highly values you. Paul was familiar with Jeremiah’s exhortation and summarized it by saying that he boasts in the cross. There is no clearer picture than the cross to understand how much value you have in the eyes of God.
Prayer: Holy Spirit, it is exciting to know how much God values me. This enables me to not need the validation of mankind, but to not be afraid of it either.