December 11, 2015
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
Let’s see if we can finish up our series today on Overcoming The Head Start of the world in our lives. Our scripture is Romans 12:1-3:
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you pre-
sent your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your
reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be trans-
formed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that
good and acceptable and perfect will of God. 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
everyone a measure of faith.
We have covered four points from Romans 12:2: First – “…present…our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is…our reasonable service;” second – “…do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed…;” third – “…by the renewing of your mind…;” and fourth – “…prove [discern in order to do] that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
Now lets look at verse three, which is a warning to those of us who think we have got the first two verses down pat! And apparently, such thinking is a common problems both in Paul’s day and ours! The apostle says, “For I say through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you….”
What’s the warning? I put it in the second person to have it more directly apply to us – Do “…not…think of...[your]self more highly than…[you] ought to think, but…think soberly, as God has dealt to everyone a measure of faith.” Apparently, Paul knows that everyone of us can struggle with the issue of pride. He confessed the same propensity in II Corinthians 12:7: “…lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations [given to me]….” Paul seems to have had a problem with pride sneaking in! After all, he tells us in Galatians 1:14, he “…advanced in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries in my own nation, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers.” (See also II Corinthians 11:22-28; 12:1-6; Philippians 3:4-6). He had a lot of which to be proud! But he reminds us in I Corinthians 1:31, and again in II Corinthians 10:17: “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.” (See also Jeremiah 9:24).
Let’s look at the extended Scripture from I Corinthians 1 – verses 26 through 31 – in which Paul expands on this subject:
For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise after the flesh, not
many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish
things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak
things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and base
things of the world and things which are despised God has chosen, and
things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh
should glory in His presence. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who
became for us wisdom from God — and righteousness and sanctification
and redemption — that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in
So we are identified in this passage as not wise, not mighty, not noble, base, foolish, despised and nothing! Not very flattering, is it? In God’s eyes, we don’t have much to brag about!
So how should we think in light of this? We must think “…soberly, as God has dealt to everyone a measure of faith.” Sober thinking is the opposite of intoxicated or confused thinking. God has given each one of us who have put our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, “…a measure of faith.” Going back to the Word of God renewing our minds (see blogs III and IV of this series), remember – it is the Word that strengthens our faith, according to Romans 10:17! The result of such strengthened faith is to know and understand the mind of Christ and to “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus….” (Philippians 2:5). In other words, think with the mind of Christ! (See I Corinthians 2:16). Let Him think through you and direct you! You are to simply obey!
Let’s summarize Overcoming The Head Start of the world as it tries to “…squeeze you into its own mold…” (Romans 12:2 – The New Testament in Modern English by J. B. Phillips).
• “…present…our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is…our reasonable service.” – reasonable because of what God has done for us (covered by Paul in the first 11 chapters of Romans).
• “…do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed….” – the positive and the negative of what we are to do.
• “…by the renewing of your mind….” It is the Word of God that renews our minds! So we must get into our Bible, and stay in it!
• “…prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Prove or discern God’s will by His Word and then determine to do it!
• Do “…not…think of…[your]self more highly than…[you] ought to think, but…think soberly, as God has dealt to everyone a measure of faith.”
Now go and be a Silky Sullivan (see the first blog in this series from December 2). The world may have a big head start but, with God’s help, you can overcome it and win for Him!
By the way, a peacock for an associated photo at the beginning of this blog? Haven’t you ever heard the saying, “As proud as a peacock“? In this case, Don’t be as proud as a peacock!