Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
An inspired apostle enjoins upon us a prayer in two parts, the second part as important as the first. It's in Romans 12:3: "I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man [or woman] that is among you, [part 1] not to think of himself [or herself] more highly than he [or she] ought to think; ..."
Ever since the fall of Adam, we humans have had to wrestle with a constant tendency to think of ourselves "highly," to be self-centered. In many cases, says Jesus, this tendency unchecked will at last lead "many [to] say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, ... in Thy name [we have] done many wonderful works," but He will be forced to say, "I never knew you" (Matt. 7:22, 23). So Paul's counsel is common sense: don't think of yourself "more highly than you ought to think."
But if we end the sentence there, it could mean that we must think of ourselves as worthless, groveling in the dust, doormats. Didn't Paul say even he was "chief of sinners"? But Paul doesn't end the sentence there, for he goes on to say, [part 2] "but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith." No, evidently we are not to think of ourselves as doormats, but what does "soberly" mean? Half-in-half between sublime happiness and in-the-dust thinking?
Well, we are not left without a clue: "soberly" means "according to" what God has done for "every man," which is: adopted him and her "in Christ." A wise writer encourages us to remember that when the Father threw His arms around Jesus the day John baptized Him and said, "This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased," He also "accepted [me] in the beloved" (Eph 1:6), because I am a member of the human race for whom the Son of God died.
So, here is the inspired prayer enjoined upon us: ask for that "grace" not to think proudly of yourself, but to appreciate how God respects you as His adopted child "in Christ." Believing [part 2] will sanctify [part 1], and your two-part prayer will be answered.
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: July 29, 2000.
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