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
Yesterday we started looking at this idea of the contrast between our “Others” ruler and God’s “Faith” ruler. When we measure ourselves by God’s standard, we will begin to think soberly. Using any other ruler will lead us to a wrong mindset.
To obtain another view of this topic, we now turn to 2 Corinthians 10:12-18 in which Paul chides with these carnal believers in their idolatry of those in the ministry and speaks of the pride that results in comparing themselves with each other. I’m not sure how far we’ll get today.
Let’s first look at 2 Corinthians 10:12.
“For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.”
Notice first that Paul points out a crowd of carnal, religious people – those who commend (recommend, present as acceptable, praise) themselves. Paul says that he and his companions in the ministry with him DARE NOT to make themselves of the number. In other words, Paul says he is not going to be associated with those who commend themselves. He stresses this point with the words, dare not. There is no earthly way Paul will ever join that carnal crowd. This is a standard for him and has become part of who he is. I believe there are very few other professions which breed pride as much as religious professions. I’ve heard preachers boast of how many people they have “led to the Lord” and shared the Gospel with. Just recently I heard a preacher boasting of being the one who preached a service after which someone surrendered to the call to preach. Here, Paul and his companions in the faith WILL NOT DARE be a part of this crowd. They have come to the knowledge of an important truth. The truth they realized then which we should realize now is the truth that our accomplishments ARE NOT the measure of our faith. The measure our faith is how aligned we are to the will of God. A saved, bought-by-the-blood mechanic working faithfully 9-5 who is completely in the will of God is much higher up on God’s “Faith” ruler than that evangelist who is well-known across the country preaching 75 meetings a year but has completely missed out on the will of God. Mark those who commend themselves. Mark those who boast of what they have done for the Lord over the last week. Mark those who boast of how many doors they have knocked on the last week. Mark those who boast of how many books they have written. Mark those who boast of how long they have been saved or have been preaching the Gospel. DARE NOT to number yourselves with them.
It saddens my heart to watch churches who believe right doctrinally fall prey to religious idolatry. Many idolize their pastors, preachers, and evangelists. What’s the difference in this idolatry and falling down before a statue in a Catholic church? Pastors are members of the local church with their own duties God has called them too. Yes, they should be respected and taken care of (1 Timothy 5:17), but they are still just members of the Body of Christ like everyone else (1 Corinthians 12) but with a different job. I’ve watched many young preachers get caught up in the excitement of gaining renown for themselves. This is complete foolishness. This is an attitude that can devastate a church by making its members believe they have a lesser significance in the Body of Christ. NO! NO! NO! If you are saved and reading this today, I want you to know that YOU have a job in the Body of Christ. Do you know what your role is? If not, YOU must put off everything else you’ve set your mind on and figure out your role NOW! If you believe you know what your role is in the Body of Christ, DARE NOT to be in that crowd who commend themselves. Do a self-check. Witness to somebody. Witness to several people. But don’t tell anybody you did it. Can you do that? Think about all the accomplishments Paul fulfilled! We know some of these because God wanted us to know, but I bet a lot was left out. Who was Paul? Was he someone magnificent in his own self? Nope. He was a persecutor of the Church. He HATED the Church of God. But God took a lowly sinner, redeemed him, and gave him a job. God gave him an assignment. Paul will be judged based on how he completed that assignment. Paul’s assignment in our eyes was bigger than what was given to Stephen whose ministry may have lasted only a few months. Stephen’s God-given job was not as widespread as Paul’s and did not gain as much attention as Paul’s job did. But both Paul and Stephen were faithful to God’s calling and may just be judged about the same.
DARE NOT to number yourselves with those who commend themselves. Why? It’s by the grace of God we even have a role in God’s plan.
We’ll pick back up with this rich passage in 2 Corinthians 10 tomorrow.