|Volume 22 Number 7 July 2020||
“Be in agreement with one another. Do not be proud; instead, associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own estimation” (Romans 12:16).
It would seem that sometimes we get caught in extremes, rather than taking the proper paths in our lives. For example, there are those who think too little of themselves, who cannot see any value in their lives. This is an extreme, because we all are created in the image of God, with the talents and abilities He has given us. He loves each of us with the same love in Christ and provides each of us what we need for life today and life eternal. Satan knows, however, that thinking which belittles ourselves offers an opportunity to give in to sin. So, he tries to take advantage of such. We must always remember, however, that “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
On the other hand, the above passage of Scripture reminds us it is also possible to think too much of ourselves. This seems to be a greater temptation, as Scripture addresses this issue more than the other. Solomon said, “Don’t consider yourself to be wise; fear the Lord and turn away from evil” (Proverbs 3:7). Paul encouraged those in Philippi, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others (Philippians 2:3-4). Paul knew this could be a problem even for him. He revealed, “To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me” (2 Corinthians 12:7).
When Paul exhorted the Christians in Corinth to examine themselves to make sure they were in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5), it was because of the deceptiveness of sin, as sometimes it’s hard to see how self-centered one can become. Satan knows that exalting ourselves offers an opportunity to give in to sin, and so, he tries to take advantage of this as well. We must always remember, however, that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
Each of us has a role to play in the kingdom of God, and everyone doing one’s part is needed to fulfill the will of God, for one’s own life and for the local congregations where we serve. No one is too insignificant and no one is so important that others are not needed. We need each other working together to live for Christ and to make a difference for the sake of the Gospel. Paul pointed this out clearly to the church in Corinth, where some felt insignificant for having a lack of certain spiritual gifts and others felt overly important for having specific spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12:14-31). He also reminded the Christians in Rome, “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” (Romans 12:3).
Jesus reminded His disciples, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:42-45). If we can keep the perspective of God being Sovereign and that we are His servants, then our lives individually and collectively as His church will reflect His glory. Our service will accomplish more for Him in our unity together, and the hope of Heaven will burn more brightly as we encourage each other as fellow workers in His kingdom.
Gary C. Hampton
God entrusted us with many things. Jesus’ powerful point in the Parable of the Talents is that the Almighty has given us things that belong to Him, and they are to be used in a way that furthers His interest (Matthew 25:14-30). Every individual needs to ensure that he or she uses those things in a way that will glorify our Father.
God gave us life. Paul declared, “for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring ’” (Acts 17:28). We are a part of His creation, exist by His power and should live to give Him glory (Colossians 1:16; Romans 11:36). He has given us today as a part of our lives, and we should seek Him while we can (Isaiah 55:6; Hebrews 3:12-13).
Our loving Father gave us material things to sustain us in life. All Christians should purpose to lay something into the treasury of the church on the first day of the week based upon the way God prospers us (1 Corinthians 16:1-2; 2 Corinthians 9:7). God gave us ability that should be used in His service (Matthew 25:14-30). This includes working to provide for the needs of our families and others (1 Timothy 5:8; Ephesians 4:28).
We serve the God of all comfort. He blesses us with comfort so that we will, in turn, be prepared to bless others in their times of struggle. The greatest comfort comes from the realization that He will bring everyone forth from the tomb (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, 9-10; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).
The Gospel is the greatest thing God has given us in trust. We were in a wretched state, enslaved to sin. God gave His Son to give us a means of escape (Romans 7:24-25a; 1 Timothy 1:15). For that reason, Paul said he was a debtor to all men. That debt drove him to preach the Gospel, and all faithful men will do likewise (Romans 1:14-16; Timothy 2:2).
You and I need to live daily in a way worthy of God’s trust.