THE MINDSET OF HUMILITY
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
When I am good at something and people admire my gift, conceit will most likely be birthed. Being able to do something that is unique and admirable is a powerful cocktail. Where is the line of thinking too much of myself? Am I allowed to be confident in what I do? Am I allowed to graciously accept a compliment? What is humility anyway?
These questions are ever in front of me. I have a public gift. I have had my share of standing ovations. I have seen hundreds of women come forward after teaching for an hour. I receive many emails from those who read books and devotionals telling me that God used my words to make a difference in their lives. Am I allowed to enjoy others praise?
Paul encourages me to think of myself with sober judgment. In other words, I take stock of my gifts, the ones that cause others to be so generous with their feedback. If I played the piano at 3 yrs. old, who gave the gift? If I have long fingers that can play technical passages, who made my hands? If I have the stamina to sustain a 36-year ministry, who gave me health? If my teaching is persuasive, who inspired the ideas and anointed my lips to speak?
To think of myself soberly is to come to a realization of the truth that God gives all things, even my very breath. To boast in myself is to pretend that I am the one who generates gifts. I am not. I will not steal the glory of my God. As soon as I accept the praise that belongs to God, I have crossed the line.
However, to defer all glory to God does not mean that I hang my head and live in a state of worthlessness. It does not mean that I should refuse all compliments and stifle the enthusiasm of the ones who want to express thanks. It is to live with an awareness that all that I have, all that I am, and all that I can do is a result of grace and favor. If I fully believe that, then self-exaltation is an impossibility.
On the flip side, I can fail to fully embrace God’s gifts in me and declare that I’m really not all that good at anything. I can live with a nagging sense of insecurity. This is not humility. This is a form of pride. I am putting my low opinion of myself above God’s calling. I insist that my view of myself is right and His is wrong by how I think, feel, and choose to live.
Humility ~ along with a confidence in who God made me to be ~ are actually the perfect pairing.
Oh Father, teach me more. Amen