Thought for Thursday

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

An evangelist and temperance campaigner of a century ago named Billy Sunday had an interesting explanation of the difference between reputation and character. He said a man’s reputation is what his neighbours think of him. His character is what his wife and God know about him. We all know there can be a wide difference between a person’s reputation and character. Trouble is, when some people set out to take their own measure, they look too closely at the reputation side of the column and not closely enough at the character side. All you need for a good reputation is the ability to behave yourself in public. But a good character comes only from self-discipline and sincerity when nobody is looking. You can’t fake a good character, and you shouldn’t pretend to have one if your heart’s secrets include malice, avarice, lust, or envy.

What do you think of yourself? No, I don’t mean what do you hope people think about you. Our text says you should consider this question soberly. You should try to examine your heart as God might examine it. Most of us don’t try to assess ourselves like this, It’s not easy, and it can be unpleasant. But we will be the better if we try.

We have a perfect example in Scripture of this principle. We read of One Who made Himself of no reputation. Even though He was the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, He humbled Himself. He never put on airs or made a show of dominating people. He knew Who He was and He knew what His purpose was. And He stayed within His Father’s will. There’s a recipe for a happy, fulfilled Christian life!

Soberly considering who we are and what our purpose is can make us humble. Fervently committing ourself to bow to the will of God can make us effective. Wouldn’t it be great to know that we’re not trying to fool men or God about who we are?

Now, what do you think about yourself? Be careful, don’t think too highly!. The lower the place you take before God, the higher the place He can lift you to in His service. – Jim MacIntosh

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