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
On the one hand, there is a major problem in local churches where Born-Again Believers do not use the gifts God has given them. Local churches in this age as a whole are filled with apathy. But the truth stands still that the other major problem in local churches is that there are those who through pride think themselves more highly than others. This problem is amplified when the pride comes from thinking more highly of oneself because of their spiritual gift.
I’ve heard it said many times how churches are filled with hypocrites. We have this idea of what a church should really be, and then we walk in through the church doors and observe so many other people struggling with their own temptations and struggles. It’s so much easier to see how others fail than it is to see how we fail. It should be the opposite. It should be that it is easier to see how we each fail in our own selves than to see how others fail. But for this to be the case, it takes the inward, spiritual man being stronger than the outward, natural man. This can only occur after the transformation mentioned in the previous verse.
Here recently, I have been looking a lot into church history. I’ve mostly been looking into the writing of the so-called “church fathers” of the 2nd century. The truth is that the early church struggled just as much in carnal temptations and spiritual apostasy (falling away) as the churches of today. During Paul’s lifetime, he warned the Ephesians in Acts 20:29-30, “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” Though the churches of the 2nd century lived closer to the time of the apostles, the churches were still susceptible to the same problems that face the churches of today. Though it’s been discouraging to me as I read the writings of these “church fathers” of the 2nd century, it gives me comfort to know that God has from the start of the church expected us to glean truths from His Word alone. Lest any of us are built up with pride as we look on the downfalls of our churches, know that from the beginning, Satan has fought against the churches. This is how it has always been. We must be careful to look within ourselves and see our own downfalls.
God wants us to use our gifts! But we must do it in humility. These gifts are given to us THROUGH THE GRACE OF GOD!