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Paul wrote, “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith” (Romans 12:3).
What did Paul mean?
In this verse, Paul is addressing the believers in the church of Rome. He gave a strong warning to the believers against overestimating themselves. A man needs to become acquainted with the weak as well as the strong points in his character. This is so that he may be constantly guarded against engaging in actions and seeking responsibilities for which God has never called him.
Faith is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). The faithful believer understands that this power comes from a complete reliance upon God’s grace for every spiritual gift they may have. Therefore, this realization leaves no room for exalting self, but rather exalting God. “…Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts” (Zechariah 4:6).
People should not be esteemed by worldly success, wealth, education, or class. The real standard is faith which once adopted in the heart will lead the believer to greater humility. For the greater his measure of faith, the clearer will be his realization of his full dependence upon the Lord.
Humility needed in the church
The reason why believers must have humility is that the church, like the human body, is made up of many parts with different roles to play. These roles are all essential but are not all equal. The well-being of the church as a whole depends upon the charity, respect and shared esteem among the believers as each one performs his God given duty (1 Cor. 12:12–17).
Jesus washed the feet of His disciples to teach them humility. And He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet” (John 13:12-14).
A measure of faith
Paul ends this key verse with saying, “…God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” This is saying that faith is a gift from God(Galatians 3:22, Galatians 5:22). It comes by hearing God’s Word. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). When we hear the gospel from God’s Holy Word, we can then have faith. Because faith is a gift, we can not boast but only glorify God in receiving it.
We must, however, exercise the faith given to us if we would have our faith strong and endure. “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone” (James 2:17). Thus, we demonstrate the faith God gives us, no matter how small, when we take hold of God’s Word and truly believe in our heart, words and actions. “If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you” (Matthew 17:20).
May we hold on to the faith God gives us and praise Him for what He will do through His humble people. “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up” (James 4:10).
In His service,