Wednesday Word 4.18.18

Romans 12:1-3  New International Version

12 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. 3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.

That last line gets me every time. I know I have said this before, but human beings have the tendency to always think they are right. We make thousands of decisions every day. Most of them we do without any thought at all. I choose to drink coffee every morning. Let me be honest, I stagger to the coffee pot first thing every morning without any thought going into it whatsoever. I reach for the toothbrush, tie my shoes, greet others that I meet, and perform a myriad of other actions perfectly mindlessly every day. These are not the decisions to which I refer. I am talking about fundamental attitudes and behaviors that become a way of life. How we are raised, what we have learned and experienced for ourselves, and so many other factors go into the way we live our lives. Many of these critical decisions are made just as mindlessly. In order to have the confidence to get out of bed in the morning to face the world, we develop a system of navigation. At the very least, we have to believe that we are operating under basically sound principles. We pretty much believe that we are good people. But by whose standards? Paul tells us not to conform to the pattern of the world.

There are people who think they are always in the right. They believe in their right to put others in their place, demand satisfaction, get the last word, let a few things slide by, cheat just a little, drive as though they were the only vehicle on the road, gossip, let someone else do it, etc., etc., etc. We all justify the choices we make. Paul is telling us that is not good enough.

At some point we must be able to stand back and see ourselves as others see us. More importantly, we have to see ourselves as God might see us! Paul calls it “sober judgement.” It isn’t always easy to assess our own behavior. We might find out we have been wrong. Jesus has given us tools for self-assessment in his teachings. Being wrong is okay. It is a human thing. Forgiving is a God thing. Trying to do better is a Holy Spirit thing. First, we have to be sure we are not thinking of ourselves “more highly” than we ought…something to pray about.

Your sister in Christ, Vicki