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
Out of curiosity I looked up what some commentaries said about the last part of this verse. It seems that many interpret the phrase, “dealt to every man the measure of faith,” to imply that here Paul is saying God deals to every man differing magnitudes of gifts. For sure God does give to every man differing abilities and gifts to use for His glory. God doesn’t give to every man the responsibility to preach, but He’s still given to every one of His children a special, unique gift. But I don’t believe this is the meaning of this verse.
Notice the word, measure. If you compare the use of this word among other passages (Mark 4:24; 2 Corinthians 10:13; Ephesians 4:13; Revelation 21:17) and look at the definition of the word along with the context here in this passage, measure is that which something is measured by. In the words of today, we would be more likely to use either of the words ruler or measurement.
There is presented in this verse a ruler of faith. This is the ruler by which we ought to measure ourselves. The ruler many of us use is the “Others” ruler. We tend to compare ourselves to other people a lot. We may see the flaws in others and think more highly of ourselves than we ought to. Or we may see the accomplishments in others and think that God would never use us to do similar great things so we lose interest in spiritual growth. This “Others” ruler is carnal. The “Others” ruler will be burnt up along with the works of man. The “Faith” ruler is what we are to measure ourselves by. How much faith are we utilizing in working out the gifts we are given? What’s interesting is that Paul implies that by measuring ourselves with THIS ruler of faith, the appropriate response is to think SOBERLY.
WOW! Did you get that? This exhortation is given to EVERY child of God. STOP measuring yourselves by others. It will ALWAYS lead you to a wrong mindset. Measure yourselves by God’s measure (ruler) of faith! What’s going to happen? You will think soberly. You will begin to think sensibly, reasonably, seriously, and WITH HUMILITY. The fact is that we ALL can improve in the use of our gifts! You may think very highly of an old preacher from the past and think, “wow, God just doesn’t seem to use people like that anymore. Why can’t God use me in that way?” This is the “Others” ruler! You can have JUST AS MUCH FAITH as that man of God and yet God MAY NOT USE YOU IN THE SAME WAY! We must see that it’s ALL ABOUT JESUS! What is HIS plan? Throw away your “Others” ruler and take up His ruler of “faith” to see where you measure up!
This is worth diving into a little deeper. We may just look some more into this idea tomorrow in the somewhat parallel passage of 2 Corinthians 10:12-18.