After Paul encouraged his readers to present themselves to God in Romans 12:1-2, he now addresses the attitude of the heart that will cause them to take this action. This attitude of heart is humility. Humility is what makes you willing and receptive to obey what God has commanded. Since this attitude of the heart is so important to your Christian life, I want to consider this one verse in this study. Let me begin with some of the basics about humility before we look at how to become humble. Paul wrote, “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” (Rom. 12:3).
Why is humility a fundamental attitude of a surrendered life?
1. Humility is where your relationship with God begins. The first beatitude Jesus gave to His disciples in the Sermon on The Mount was, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:3). What does it mean to be poor in spirit? People who are poor in spirit realize that they are poverty-stricken spiritually and have nothing to offer God in order for Him to save them. They understand that they are spiritually destitute. They see nothing but their sin and need before Him. Do you see yourself this way, or do you think that God is really privileged to have you because you are such a good person? When you realize your great need before Him, and that your sin is ever before you, the next beatitude takes effect. Jesus then said, “Blessed are they who mourn” (Matt. 5:4). A person will never mourn for their sin unless they first see their need before God. This is what brings a person to a place of humility, sorrow, and confession. This is what brought Peter to the feet of Jesus. Do you remember Peter falling before Jesus and saying, “depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord” (Luke 5:8)? Peter saw his utter need when he looked into the eyes of Jesus. This is also what happened to Isaiah when he saw the Lord. Isaiah wrote, “In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!’ And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke. So I said: ‘Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, The LORD of hosts’” (Isa. 6:1-5). When you “see” the Lord and realize you have offended God, and recognize your destitute nature, this will always bring you to confession of sin. Humility will always be the result. This is where every single Christian begins their relationship with Him. Humility is what allows this whole process of salvation to commence. In addition, humility is what allows you to continue to grow as a believer in your dependence upon the Lord. Never forget where you have come from!
2. Humility is essential if you want God to respond to your prayers. The necessity of humility for effective prayer is clearly taught in Psalm 138:6, where the psalmist declared, “Though the LORD is on high, yet He regards the lowly; but the proud He knows from afar.” The question is, which do you want? Do you want the Lord to regard you and your prayers, or do you want to be far from God? Also in Isaiah 66:1-2 God says again, “Thus says the LORD: ‘Heaven is My throne, and earth is My footstool. Where is the house that you will build Me? And where is the place of My rest? For all those things My hand has made, and all those things exist,’ Says the LORD. ‘But on this one will I look: on him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word.’” God always looks favorably on those who have a poor and contrite spirit. An attitude of humility will also tremble at God’s Word. To have this kind of respect for God’s Word, you must have a truly humble heart.
Jesus also told his disciples that there was no way around humility if they were going to follow Him. He said in Matthew 23:12, “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Be sure to notice this word whoever. Whenever you see this word in Scripture it means that this truth applies to everyone. That means everyone on this planet, no matter who you are. Also note that Jesus didn’t say everyone might be humbled. No, He said that everyone will be humbled. In a similar fashion He didn’t say might be exalted, but will be exalted! This is an absolute promise. This will absolutely come to pass. In other words, there is no way around this issue. You must humble yourself if you want to have a relationship with God. Only then will He hear your prayers.
3. Humility is God’s character, and must be a part of your character too.
Do you realize that humility is a fundamental part of the character of God? God is a humble God. Now you may think, That sounds a little odd. But this is how both the Old and New Testaments reveal the character of God. Let me show you this in Scripture. In Psalm 113:5-6 the psalmist declared, “Who is like the LORD our God, Who dwells on high, Who humbles Himself to behold the things that are in the heavens and in the earth”? There is no God like our God! He is holy and righteous, and dwells on high, but He humbles Himself to look upon men and their needs. Our holy God wants to have a relationship with you and me!
The New Testament reveals the same truth concerning the humble character of our God. In Philippians 2:5-8 Paul encourages all believers to have the same character and attitude of humility as Jesus Christ. He wrote, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” Jesus humbled Himself and came to earth as God the Son. He became a man and was obedient to the Father’s will, which meant that He had to die in our place for our sins. That is humility! When Paul taught that Jesus was in the form of God, this meant that He was God in visual form possessing the very nature of God. Yet this only revealed the greatness of His humility to come in the flesh of a man. Jesus didn’t consider it robbery to be fully equal with God. That word robbery literally means something to be grasped at, or something to be taken by force. Jesus didn’t have to take equality with God the Father by force, because equality with the Father was already His; yet He still chose to humble Himself. What an example of humility! God wants us to have the same attitude of humility if we are to become His followers. The God of heaven, the God who is on high, came and lived as a human being and experienced all the daily hassles and problems that you have. He took the abuse and the mockery of men, and then He turned around and died in our place, and redeemed even those who mocked and ridiculed Him. Incredible! That’s real humility! So, “Let this mind be in you that was also in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:5).
4. Do you have this heart of humility? If you answer this question, I don’t know, or I’m not quite sure, I can tell you someone who does know. God knows your heart and the heart of every person alive (1 Kings 8:39). Remember, the only person you must deal with, and to whom you must give account, is the Lord! Come to Him in sincerity of heart and acknowledge that you want to humble yourself before Him. Ask His forgiveness for any known sin, and He will forgive you! The Apostle John declared, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Be assured, no one can confess their sins to God and not be motivated by a humble heart!
Another issue that is important to understand is that God knows the difference between those with true humility and those with false humility. Did you know that there was such a thing as false humility? How does the Bible define false humility? The answer is very simple. False humility is doing religious rituals without a true heart of repentance. False humility will never sincerely confess its sin, or truly seek the Lord. This is why you can meet those who profess faith in God, but behave in a very arrogant way. These people want you to know how humble they are, and seem to broadcast all of the great things they have done for others and God’s kingdom. But this is just the opposite of what humility will do. Remember that Jesus made Himself of no reputation and didn’t want to broadcast all His good deeds. In Colossians 2:18-23, Paul warned the believers twice in these verses about false humility. Note how he defines this attitude and the behaviors that follow. Paul said, “Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God. Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations—'Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,’ which all concern things which perish with the using--according to the commandments and doctrines of men? These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.” These false believers were only concerned with external rituals which were the result of their pride and the doctrines of men. They were concerned with self-imposed religion which only kept these people from a real fellowship with the Head, Jesus Christ. This false humility kept them from being nourished and knit together with other believers. False humility will surely keep a person from ever presenting themselves to the Lord or experiencing the renewing of their mind and a transformed life. A changed life is the only thing you should seek and want from the Lord!
How can you get and keep this humble heart?
There are several very specific things you can do in order to gain a humble heart. These steps are very simple, but they will produce the heart you desire.
1. True humility results from seeing the Lord and choosing to humble yourself. Humility is really a simple thing to obtain. All you need is to have a true encounter with God. This is what causes humility to form in your heart, and what keeps you growing in humility. Every time a person had a real encounter with the Lord, whether it was in a vision or whether it was seeing Christ in their midst, they would humble themselves. I mentioned this truth earlier when I gave you the examples of Peter and Isaiah realizing they were sinful men. But this is a fact that you will see over and over again throughout Scripture. When Abraham saw the Lord, he immediately bowed himself to the ground before Him (Gen. 18:1-2). When Joshua met the Lord at the Jordan River, he bowed himself to the ground and worshipped (Joshua 5:13-15). Joshua had no question who this Man was that he stood before, because the Man commanded Joshua to take off his shoes because the place where he stood was holy ground. This command was identical to the command given to Moses when he stood before God in the burning bush (Ex. 3:5). So, when you truly encounter the Lord, there isn’t any other response you can have but humility, because you will immediately perceive both His holiness and your sinfulness. When you recognize the presence of the King, and are touched by His Spirit in your heart, you too will bow before Him. One day when we stand before the throne of God, we will all casts our crowns down and prostrate ourselves at His feet, because we will see Him as He is, our holy and righteous God (Rev. 4:10). What a day that will be!
Today, draw near to the Lord in your devotional time, wait upon Him in prayer, and ask Him to open your heart so you can truly fellowship with Him. Ask Him to show you your sinfulness and His great mercy toward you, and the result will be humility. Remember, Scripture warns you that, “you do not have because you do not ask” (James 4:2). Stop now and ask Him!
Your decision to pray and wait upon Him is simply done by a choice of your will. Humility is a choice you make, because you see yourself honestly and reverently before God. Don’t make God humble you, humble yourself before Him! This is what the Scripture encourages you to do. In 1 Peter 5:6, Peter commanded all believers to, “humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time.” The key words here are, humble yourselves. Remember that this is what Jesus told His disciples to do in Matthew 23:12 when He said, “he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Don’t make God humble you. It won’t feel good. I am alarmed when I hear people pray, “O Lord, humble me.” I think to myself, “Oh, my goodness, don’t say that.” Instead, humble yourself, because it is the best choice. It is the choice God has given you to make. When you take the path of humbling yourself, you are taking the quickest and the easiest way to a humble heart.
2. True humility is gained when you control how you think about yourself. In Galatians 6:3, Paul warns believers, “If anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.” Discerning how you think about yourself is so important in dealing with the pride and arrogance within. Pride is basically self-deceptive. Why? Arrogance deceives you and causes you to see yourself in a way that is not real or true. People think, “I’m not such a bad person. There are far worse people than me.” However, true humility allows you to see yourself the way God sees you.
So, what do you think about yourself? How do you perceive yourself? Do you think you are something, or nothing? A true self-perception requires honesty with yourself. Honesty requires you listen to your own thoughts, so you can perceive how you think about yourself. How do you think about others? Your thoughts here will reveal if you have true humility or not. Do you compare yourself with others in your mind? Do you see yourself as either better or less than others? Do you realize that to compare yourself with others is not a wise thing to do (2 Cor. 10:12)? Why? Because when you compare yourself with others, you will either exalt or condemn yourself. It will be one or the other. It will stumble you! If you want to compare yourself to anyone, just compare yourself with Jesus, that will take care of any pride you have.
If you examine your thoughts regularly it will keep you from arrogant and prideful thinking. In 1 Cor. 8:2, the Corinthians had a tremendous problem with arrogance. Paul warned them saying, “If anyone thinks that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know.” Note again, Paul wants you to perceive how you are thinking in your mind. If you think you know anything, in reality, you know nothing as you ought to know. So, do you think, “I really know a lot about the Bible, and I know a whole lot more than that person.” Is that humble thinking? No! That kind of thinking is the opposite of humility. This is why you always need to consider your inner thoughts, and this will aid you in keeping a humble heart and mind.
3. Humility results from learning the Word of God. If you want humility, another simple way to experience it is by reading your Bible. Why would you experience humility when you open up the Bible? Because when you get into the Word of God, your eyes are opened to the humble heart of the God you serve. When you listen to Jesus teach, and look at how He dealt with people, it will change you from the inside out. It will make you want to be just like Him. Jesus said in Matthew 11:29, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” When you open your heart to Jesus and learn from Him, you will gain a heart like His. God’s Word is like a seed planted inside you that will produce the fruit of change from arrogance to humility (Luke 8:11). Just putting yourself into contact with Him and the power of the Holy Spirit will change your thinking about God, others, and yourself. This change takes place as you allow the conviction or encouragement of the Scriptures, whichever is needed at that moment. His conviction concerning your arrogance, selfishness, or wrong thinking is what will make you into the man or woman God wants you to be. His encouragement from the Word of God will also help you to make these changes permanent, because He will continually remind you of what you should do. Hearing His thoughts about you and about what He wants you to do, and how you should treat others, will do the work within. Become a man or a woman of the Word of God, and your heart will naturally become humble.
4. True humility comes when you recognize God as the giver of all that you have. Remember earlier in this study, I wrote about how proud the Corinthian church had become? Notice Paul’s further reproof to their arrogance. He posed several questions to them so they could examine their thinking. He said to them 1 Corinthians 4:7, “For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it? Paul gives them a strong rebuke to their pride, but also gives them the solution to deal with their problem. He makes it clear that we are so much like one another, because we are all sinners in need of redemption. If we have anything or know anything it is because we have received it from God by His grace. He is the giver of every good and perfect gift (James 1:17). So, if you truly believe that all you have, every gift, every talent, and every blessing comes from God, how could you ever boast about anything? We have all received from God overwhelming gifts and talents. It is necessary that we acknowledge this fact daily. The fruit of doing so will always be humility!
What does it mean to think soberly, and how does correct thinking affect your faith?
1. To think soberly means to be in your right mind. Paul saw this essential truth of thinking soberly when he said, “For I say… 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” (Rom. 12:3). Paul gives a simple yet profound command to Christians that they should think soberly about themselves. What does it mean to think soberly? The word soberly means to think in a sane way, or to be in your right mind with sober judgment. The word think is in the present tense which means this is the way we should always think. Why? God has opened our eyes to see the truth about Him, the world, and ourselves. We have no illusions about who we are and what we have done. We see things clearly now. But the question is, how can we keep and maintain this sober judgment and clear thinking? To keep this clarity of thinking simply requires you to keep reading the Scripture every day. This allows God to keep His wisdom and truth in your thoughts continually. If you do not, then you will begin to deceive yourself and think that you are something when in reality you are nothing. You will begin to think that the world isn’t so bad. But we are warned many times in Scripture not to deceive ourselves (Gal. 6:3; 1 John 1:8; 1 Cor. 3:18). Deceiving ourselves is also a choice we all make a multitude of times throughout our lives. When trials and hardships come to our lives, we must decide to trust what God has said about us and our circumstances. If not, you will see yourself as a victim, or someone God is out to get, or you might blame-shift responsibility onto someone else. To think soberly means to take a sane and biblical look at all things in your life, and agree with God and His Word in all circumstances.
All of us have had friends who at one point in their lives were very sober-minded about life, only to meet them years later to see that their thinking had radically changed. These people who were once so stable and grounded in the truth, are now off on some crazy unbiblical tangent. You immediately think to yourself, They are not in their right mind; what happened to them? Other times you can be encouraging a friend to follow the Lord and their response is, “I could never do that.” They respond this way because their reasoning tells them that they are a failure, or they give you some reason why God can’t do what He has promised. This person is also not in their right mind because they are choosing to believe their feelings, their own reasoning, or what others have persuaded them to believe. Don’t be this person. Reject what you feel, what you think about yourself, and what others think about you! Rather, accept what God has said about you. This is thinking that is sober and sane.
2. To think soberly will give you a balanced view of yourself.
There are two ways to think about yourself that would not be considered sober thinking. One is clearly in the text we are studying, which is to think more highly of yourself than you should. The other is to think more lowly of yourself than you should. Both of these thinking patterns are detrimental to your faith and your relationship with God. These two attitudes are seen over and over again in Scripture. Let me show you just two examples. When a person sees himself or herself more highly than they should, they think like a Pharisee. In the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector, Jesus taught how not to think about yourself and contrasted it with sane thinking. Jesus said, “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men--extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 18:10-14). The Pharisee was not thinking clearly or soberly. He was not in his right mind, because he clearly didn’t think that he was like every other man on this earth. That was his first mistake. His second mistake was to think that he could do enough good works to bring him into favor before God. His third mistake was to compare himself with those around him. The tax collector did the exact opposite in his thinking. He was thinking in a sane and right way. He agreed with God’s Word that he was a sinner who deserved judgment, but came seeking the God who delights in mercy (Micah 7:18). In addition, the tax collector did not come pleading his good works or compare himself with any other person. God was pleased with this behavior and justified him accordingly.
When you think more lowly of yourself than you should, then you are also not thinking correctly or sanely. The best example of this way of thinking is Moses. Remember when God came to him in the burning bush and called Moses to lead the Children of Israel out of Egypt? What was the response that Moses gave to God? “Moses said to God, ‘Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt’” (Exodus 3:11)? Moses was saying to God, “No Lord, you can’t use me. I am just a nobody. I can’t do the things you are asking me to do.” God’s response to Moses was, “I will certainly be with you,” pledging His divine help to this man (Ex. 3:12). It’s important to note that God didn’t give up on Moses but worked with him and his incorrect thinking. Moses ultimately became a man greatly used by God. Remember Moses, because God won’t give up on you either. So, when God commands you to action, He will enable you to perform whatever He has called you to do. Yes, Moses went dragging his feet in the beginning, but in the end, God was with Moses and enabled him to do everything He had commanded him to do. What was the problem with the thinking of Moses? He said, “Who am I.” Moses was thinking lowlier of himself than he ought to think, probably because he had failed to deliver the Jewish people forty years prior. But the truth was that Moses had failed, because he attempted to deliver the Jews by his own plan and in his own strength. What he came to realize was that if God was calling him now, and promised to be with him, then he would be successful this time. You must believe the same thing!
I have witnessed many people throughout my ministry refuse God’s call on their lives, because their thinking was not balanced. Balanced thinking is seeing yourself for who you are, a corrupt sinner that deserves the Lake of Fire, and at the same time believing that the God of Israel loves you, has called you, redeemed you, and will enable you to serve Him. If he calls you, then He will enable you to do whatever He has called you to do.
To think more highly of yourself is pride. To think more lowly of yourself is also pride. Why do I say this? Both of these incorrect thinking patterns originate in pride, because you are rejecting what God has said about you. The Pharisee thought he was not like other men. This is a rejection of God’s Word that declared that, “There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; they have together become unprofitable; there is none who does good, no, not one” (Rom. 3:10-12). The person who thinks of themselves lowlier than they should is also rejecting God’s Word which states that they are, “The called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28). You should never reject God’s promise because, “God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good” (Num. 23:19)? The answer to God’s question is yes; He will do whatever He promises! He will make it good!
Do you see how important sober thinking is to your faith and your life? These are two ways of thinking that you want to reject. Don’t reject God’s promise; reject your ideas of yourself. Let me illustrate this point. Think of one of the biggest struggles that most Christians have, which is sharing their faith with others. People say to me, “I can’t witness to others. I could never do that. I’m just too reserved and quiet. I just can’t do it.” But, isn’t this exactly what Moses told God? Yet the Lord promised Moses, “I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say” (Ex. 4:12). Did you know that Jesus promised His disciples, and for that matter you, the same thing? He promised them when they were brought before magistrates for His sake, “The Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say” (Luke 12:12). If He commands you to speak to others about Jesus, then He will enable you to do it.
Another example is forgiveness. People tell me, “I just can’t forgive that person. They have deeply offended me.” This is wrong thinking. This is pride and rebellion within your heart. What you are saying is, “I don’t want to forgive them.” It is not, “I can’t,” it is, “I won’t.” If the Bible teaches as Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” then you can forgive (Phil. 4:13). If God can forgive you, then you can forgive others. It all comes down to a choice you must make. Does God explicitly command you to forgive, “Anyone for anything” (Mark 11:25)? Yes! If He commands you to forgive, then you can forgive. What God commands, He will help you to do!
Another very prevalent wrong way of thinking, which you may struggle with, is blame-shifting. When a person consistently blames someone else for their own faults, that is wrong and prideful thinking. This person doesn’t want to take responsibility for their own faults, because if they do then they will have to humble themselves and ask forgiveness. They simply don’t want to do that because of pride. You have met people like this before. They are constantly blaming their employer, or their spouse for the problems they have created. Or it’s their friend, or the church’s fault, but it is never their responsibility. When you think like this you are thinking incorrectly. When you are honest and deal with the issues in your life, you will see very clearly your own faults (Matt. 7:5). Humility and correct thinking are where it all begins. Remember, pride is the enemy of your faith.
3. Thinking soberly reveals humility and will promote and encourage your faith.
Humility and faith will always go together. These two cannot be separated. If you want to be a man or woman of faith, humility is a precondition. One of the best examples of this truth is the story of the Roman centurion who came to Jesus. Matthew records this story in Matthew 8:5-10. He declares, “Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him, saying, ‘Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘I will come and heal him.’ The centurion answered and said, ‘Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it. When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!’” Note that Jesus had agreed to come and heal the man’s servant, but the centurion refused, acknowledging his total unworthiness. Here is where we see this man’s humility. Then the centurion acknowledged his faith in the power and authority of Jesus to simply speak the word and the healing would occur. Here is where humility and faith were mingled together. Also note the love and grace of God in what Jesus offered to do. The centurion doesn’t even tell Jesus what he wants Him to do before Jesus graciously offers to come and heal his servant. Doesn’t that offer powerfully reveal the love and gracious heart of God? When Jesus heard all the centurion’s words He marveled. This word marveled means to be amazed or astonished. What was Jesus amazed at? It was this man’s great faith, faith to believe that Jesus simply had to say the word, and it would be done.
Where does great faith like this come from? It comes from this man’s humility that acknowledged his own unworthiness, and by acknowledging Christ’s power and authority over all things, including sickness. Now many times people only get half of this equation correct by telling God, “I’m not worthy that Jesus should do anything for me.” That’s right, but He has also made you worthy and accepted by the blood of the Lamb. Scripture affirms, “He made us accepted in the beloved” (Eph. 1:6). What believers need is the other side of the equation, which is to trust God’s love, grace, and the authority to bestow on them His favor. If you want great faith, get both sides of this equation correct. Come to Him in humility, acknowledging your personal unworthiness, but also declaring your faith in His love, grace, and power to do all things. He can speak the word right now, at this very moment, to help you in whatever need you have.
4. Thinking soberly effectively deals with pride which is the enemy of your faith.
Thinking soberly is one of the simplest solutions to pride within your heart. Thinking with sober judgment about your need before God naturally brings you to the humble heart that He requires. Humility will then reach out in faith to God who is your only help. By faith David regularly cried out to Him in many of the Psalms, because he knew where his help came from. Therefore, he boldly declared, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Ps. 46:1). Consequently, pride and faith are two things that cannot coexist together within you. Why is this true? Because pride thinks, “I don’t need to trust God, because I can do it myself.” If you don’t need faith, then there is no reason to pray and seek God’s help and strength. Humility realizes and believes that you need someone who is more powerful than you are to help. Pride and faith are like oil and water, they cannot ever be mixed together. Remember that Paul already addressed this truth earlier in this epistle. In Romans 3:27 Paul taught, “Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith.” Boasting will always be excluded from the life of a man or woman of faith. This is what happens when you realize your need before God, and cry out to Him for His help. Humility always sees its own need and runs to the only One who can meet that need, Jesus Christ.
5. Thinking soberly assures you that everyone lives by faith and has a measure of faith.
Do you think this way? Do you realize that everyone who is alive in this world lives by faith, whether they are a believer in Jesus or not? Yes, even an unbeliever lives by faith. What do I mean? The Greek word faith simply means strong confidence or conviction. Some people have a strong confidence and conviction that God exists, and others have a strong confidence and conviction that God does not exist. Others have a strong confidence that there are gods that exist other than the God of the Bible. Each of these three types of people have a conviction and strong confidence concerning their beliefs.
Another way to think about the faith of an unbeliever is to consider the convictions necessary to live every day. An unbeliever lives by faith every time they get into their car and begin to drive down the street. They are passing cars traveling in the opposite direction at high rates of speed only a few feet apart. What enables an unbeliever to behave this way? They have faith that the drivers going in the opposite direction are going to stay in their lane and not come across that double line and hit them head on. That’s faith! They have no knowledge of these other people. They don’t know if these people even have a license to drive, or if they are under the influence of some substance that would impair their driving. Yet they drive down the street every day in faith. Every person that gets on an airplane has faith that the pilot is licensed and knows what he or she is doing, even though you have never met this person or seen them fly a plane. Every time you open a food container you do so by faith that the box doesn’t contain poison, even though you didn’t see the process followed by those who produced the food. I think you get my point. Everyone lives by faith every day of their lives. In fact, you can’t live in this world without faith. This is why Paul said that, “God has dealt to each one a measure of faith” (Rom. 12:3). Everyone believes in something. But the question is, are you putting your faith in the right place?
However, you may be thinking about the Scripture where Paul prayed, “That we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men; for not all have faith” (2 Thess. 3:2). What does he mean that all do not have faith? This seems to contradict the passage here in Romans that each person has been given a measure of faith. But all Paul is saying is, all do not have faith in God. They still have faith, but just not in God! All men have been given a measure of faith, but it’s your decision whether or not you put your faith in Christ. This is how you can be assured that God is not picking and choosing who can be saved and who will not be saved. All men have the same opportunity to choose to put their faith in God or not, because each has been given a measure of faith. What you do with the faith you possess is your decision. Notice how Jesus made this truth concerning the decision of faith to those He ministered to, “For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words” (John 5:46-47)? To the Pharisees Jesus again said, “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins” (John 8:24). Jesus made it abundantly clear that these unbelievers had a decision to make whether or not to believe in Him. So, remember, the measure of faith that God has given to you is a precious gift. Will you put your faith in God, in yourself, in government, or in people? Everybody places their faith in something and someone, whether it is the true and living God, or a false god. The question is, in whom have you placed your precious faith? My encouragement is to choose to put your faith in the One who died and rose again, who redeemed you from the guilt and penalty of sin!