Spiritual Sobriety Test
For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. Romans 12:3 (NKJV)
While we’re on the subject of tough topics, here’s another one that we seem to have trouble with . . . compliments. How should we react when somebody commends us for doing a good job of leading worship, sharing Christ with a non-believer, serving at a ministry outreach, or even teaching a Bible study? I’ve found that we tend to make two common mistakes when it comes to compliments.
The first is to think too highly of ourselves. It’s a wonderful thing when the Lord does something powerful through our lives, but we must always remember that He is the one who is doing the work. The moment we begin to put our ownership on His works, we start down the path of pride that ultimately makes us unusable in the Master’s hands:
When pride comes, then comes shame. (Proverbs 11:2 NKJV)
The next mistake we make is to think too lowly of ourselves. "Wait a minute, Pastor! Where’s the danger in that?" If God is working in a person’s life, it needs to be recognized and appreciated. Sadly, there are some in the body of Christ who walk around with their heads down, believing that they are good for nothing. They’re just biding their time here on earth until the Lord comes for them. This is wrong because it’s just as dishonoring to God to say that He isn’t working in us as it is to take credit for the work He’s doing.
So what should we do? Once again, the wisdom of the Word is clear. As Romans 12:3 (NKJV) tells us, we are to think soberly. The word "sober" means to base one’s outlook on facts. The fact is that the Lord is responsible for the good works that occur in and through our lives. When a compliment comes our way, we need to maintain this outlook and be grateful that our lives are being used for good.
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. (Ephesians 2:10 NLT)