For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. Romans 12:3
When the Israelites traveled from Mount Sinai to the edge of Canaan, the Kohathites—descendants of the second son of Levi—had the privilege of carrying the Ark of the Covenant and other holy vessels (Numbers 4:1-15). By contrast, someone—we don’t know who—was responsible for tent pegs, ropes, poles, and the like.
How did those with the menial tasks feel about those with the most holy tasks? Paul’s words in Romans 12:3 would have been good advice: Don’t think too highly (or too lowly) of yourself. Rather, think realistically about the role God has given you to play in building up the Body of Christ. God gives grace and faith to each one; we must discern the purpose of God’s grace to us and fulfill His calling. Some carry the Ark; some carry the tent pegs; all move the purpose of God into the future.
What grace has God given you? Step out in faith to prove what is His good and perfect will for you (Romans 12:1-2).
To obey God’s will is to find the fulfillment of our lives. David Watson
“A Ministry Energized by the Gospel” Sermon on Romans 12:3-8 by Pastor Colin Smith
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. Romans 8:26
Although Anne Sheafe Miller died in 1999 at the age of 90, she nearly passed away in 1942 after developing septicemia following a miscarriage and all treatments proved to be unsuccessful. When a patient at the same hospital mentioned his connection to a scientist who’d been working on a new wonder drug, Anne’s doctor pressed the government to release a tiny amount for Anne. Within a day, her temperature was back to normal! Penicillin had saved Anne’s life.
Since the fall, all human beings have experienced a devastating spiritual condition brought about by sin (Romans 5:12). Only the death and resurrection of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit has made it possible for us to be healed (8:1–2). The Holy Spirit enables us to enjoy abundant life on earth and for eternity in the presence of God (vv. 3–10). “And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you” (v. 11).
When your sinful nature threatens to drain the life out of you, look to the source of your salvation, Jesus, and be strengthened by the power of His Spirit (vv. 11–17). “The Spirit helps us in our weakness” and “intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God” (vv. 26–27).
By Ruth O’Reilly-Smith
Reflect & Pray
In what area do you need to experience the life of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit? How can you be more aware of the presence and work of the Holy Spirit?
Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of Your Son and the power of the Holy Spirit who enables me to enjoy real life in You.
Can you imagine filling a ship with precious cargo and launching it into the sea, only to watch it repeatedly dock without offloading anything? I imagine silent Christians are much like this ship. God has personally blessed believers with salvation and eternal life and entrusted to them the message of the gospel, yet too few of His children are willing to share with others the good news of salvation in Christ.
What causes us to stay silent? We know that Jesus has commanded us to go and make disciples (Matt. 28:18-20). Furthermore, He has assured us that we will be empowered by His authority and presence with us. God is offering the invitation of salvation to “whoever will call on the name of the Lord.” He has even made it clear that our communicating the good news is the means by which people will come to saving faith (Rom. 10:13-14).
Sometimes Christians who don’t share their faith defend that choice by saying, “My faith is private. It’s between me and my God.” But that is not the model we see in Scripture. Genuine faith is confessed with the mouth and shared with the world.
Every believer has been entrusted with the good news of salvation through Christ. It is unquestionably the single most important piece of information we have, because it offers the only door to heaven. In John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” We have to courageously step forward in faith, be willing to set aside worldly concerns, obey God, and tell someone about Jesus.
“O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:24)
This despondent cry follows Paul’s disturbing monologue on the inner strife between his two natures (Romans 7:13-24). Here the apostle describes the conflict that goes on in the life of every Christian, until the self-life is completely subjugated and the will of Christ reigns supreme. The ascendancy of self is indicated in these verses by the fact that the personal pronouns “I,” “me,” “my” are used no less than 35 times in verses 15-24 alone as Paul records his inner thoughts and feelings (e.g., “that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I”—v. 15). Such a testimony is pervaded with introspection, relating everything to self instead of to Christ. No wonder the conclusion is so miserable: “O wretched man that I am!”
Unfortunately, this is the status of most Christians whose interests are almost completely self-centered. Most Christian books and sermons are designed to appeal to such personal interests, and the explosive modern growth of Christian professional “counseling” likewise reflects the existence of multitudes of self-centered Christians.
But the happy and useful Christian is the one whose concerns and activities center around others and who earnestly seeks to follow and honor Christ and His Word. And this is exactly the conclusion to which the apostle Paul comes in his melancholy soliloquy. “Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” he cries. Immediately the answer comes: “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 7:24-25).
We do still have to battle the old nature, but in Christ we have both the incentive and power to “put off the old man with his deeds” (Colossians 3:9) and to “put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Ephesians 4:24). HMM
Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil.
Let us suppose we are back in the old days of the high priest, who took incense into the sanctum and went behind the veil and offered it there. And let us suppose that rubber—the worst-smelling thing I can think of when it burns—had been available in those days. Let us suppose that chips of rubber had been mixed with the incense, so that instead of the pure smoke of the spices filling the temple with sweet perfume, there had been the black, angry, rancid smell of rubber mixed with it. How could a priest worship God by mixing with the sweet-smelling ingredients some foul ingredient that would be a stench in the nostrils of priest and people?
So how can we worship God acceptably when there is within our nature something that, when it catches on fire, gives off not a fragrance but a smell? How can we hope to worship God acceptably when there is something in our nature which is undisciplined, uncorrected, unpurged, unpurified—which is evil and which will not and cannot worship God acceptably? Even granted that a man with evil ingredients in his nature might with some part of him worship God half acceptably, what kind of a way is that to live? TWE008-009
Purify my heart. Bring to my remembrance anything that might be a stench in Your holy nostrils. Cleanse me, that my worship this morning might be a sweet perfume, pleasing to You in every way. Amen.
That which I see not teach Thou me: if I have done iniquity, I will do it no more.—Job 34:32.
He will teach us, of His ways, and we will walk in His paths.—Isaiah 2:3.
Yes, take my heart, and in it rule,
Direct it as it pleaseth Thee,
I will be silent in Thy school,
And learn whate’er Thou teachest me.
People cannot become perfect by dint of hearing or reading about perfection. The chief thing is not to listen to yourself, but silently to listen to God. Talk little and do much, without caring to be seen. God will teach you more than all the most experienced persons or the most spiritual books can do. You already know a great deal more than you practice. You do not need the acquirement of fresh knowledge half so much as to put in practice that which you already possess.
Francois De La Mothe Fénelon.
To speak with the tongues of men or angels on religious matters, is a much less thing than to know how to stay the mind upon God, and abide with Him in the closet of our hearts, observing, loving, adoring, and obeying His holy power within us.
“Let my heart be sound in thy statutes: that I be not ashamed.” Ps. 119:80
We may regard this inspired prayer as containing within itself the assurance that those who keep close to the Word of God shall never have cause to be ashamed of doing so.
See, the prayer is for soundness of heart. A sound creed is good, a sound judgment concerning it is better, but a sound heart toward the truth is best of all. We must love the truth, feel the truth, and obey the truth, otherwise we are not truly sound in God’s statutes. Are there many in these evil days who are sound? Oh, that the writer and the reader may be two of this sort!
Many will be ashamed in the last great day, when all disputes will be decided. Then they will see the folly of their inventions, and be filled with remorse because of their proud infidelity and willful defiance of the Lord; but he who believed what the Lord taught, and did what the Lord commanded, will stand forth justified in what he did. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun. Men much slandered and abused shall find their shame turned into glory in that day.
Let us pray the prayer of our text, and we may be sure that its promise will be fulfilled to us. If the Lord makes us sound, He will keep us safe.