WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
MAY 16, 2021
TOPIC: DON’T THINK LESS OF YOURSELF; THINK OF YOURSELF LESS
BY T. O. BANSO
“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 New King James Version).
There is a difference between pride and acknowledging who you are and acting accordingly. Some people think that humility is putting themselves down or humiliating themselves. That’s not humility. Humility is not shaming yourself. Humility is not thinking less of yourself. Neither is it thinking of yourself more than you ought to.
Romans 12:3 says, “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” (New King James Version).
That scripture doesn’t say you should not think of yourself. It’s rather saying you should not think of yourself more highly than you ought to think. The New Living Translation puts it this way: “Be honest in your estimate of yourselves, measuring your value by how much faith God has given you” (Romans 12:3b New Living Translation).
Don’t have a wrong estimation of yourself. If you do, you are engaging in self-delusion or self-deceit. Evaluate yourself correctly and act accordingly. Don’t rate yourself above your true level. Don’t let Satan deceive you that you will be like God as he (the serpent) deceived Eve (Genesis 3:5). Pride!
The Bible says you should humble yourself under the mighty power of God, and in His good time, He will honour you (1 Peter 5:6). Proverbs 15:33b says before honor is humility. Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall (Proverbs 16:18). Proud people always have an exaggerated opinion of themselves. They call themselves what they’re not. That’s why they fall.
Don’t think of yourself more highly than you ought to. That doesn’t mean you should think of yourself less than you ought to. Humility doesn’t mean creating in yourself a feeling of unworthiness, guilt, or condemnation. Know who God says you are. Acknowledge what God has done in your life. Don’t put yourself down.
Reading the letters of Paul, one thing he was unmistakably clear about was his apostleship, though he wasn’t one of the original apostles, which made some people question his authority. But he kept on emphasizing that he was an apostle. Was that pride? No. he was acknowledging who he was in God.
In Romans 11:13, Paul said, “For I speak to you Gentiles; inasmuch as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry” (New King James Version). The Greek word translated magnify in this scripture is doxazo, which, among other things, means to praise, extol, magnify, celebrate. “For I speak to you who are Gentiles. Since then as I am an apostle to Gentiles, I glorify my ministry” (Romans 11:13 World English Bible).
Paul magnified or glorified his ministry; he didn’t magnify, glorify, or praise himself. Self-praise is no praise. But he magnified his ministry. Magnify your ministry, too. Praise God for what He is doing in your life and through you. Don’t despise or belittle it.
Paul didn’t think less of himself. In Romans 1:1, he said he was a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, and separated to the gospel of God. Also in 1 Corinthians 1:1, Paul said he was called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God.
Answering some Corinthians who were questioning Paul’s authority and rights as an apostle, Paul didn’t think less of himself just because they taught less of him. He replied, “Am I not an apostle? Am I not free? Have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord? If I am not an apostle to others, yet doubtless I am to you. For you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 9:1-2 New King James Version).
Defending his apostleship further, he told the Corinthians in 2 Corinthians 12:11-13, “You have made me act like a fool — boasting like this. You ought to be writing commendations for me, for I am not at all inferior to these ‘super apostles,’ even though I am nothing at all. When I was with you, I certainly gave you every proof that I am truly an apostle, sent to you by God himself. For I patiently did many signs and wonders and miracles among you. The only thing I didn’t do, which I do in the other churches, was to become a burden to you. Please forgive me for this wrong!” (New Living Translation).
However, the same Paul spoke about the challenges he faced in the ministry. He didn’t present himself as a superman, thinking of himself more highly than he should. Paul said of his challenges in the ministry, “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed — always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So then death is working in us, but life in you” (2 Corinthians 4:7-12 New King James Version).
He spoke further about his suffering in the ministry in relation to those who were boasting about their human achievements: “They say they serve Christ? I know I sound like a madman, but I have served him far more! I have worked harder, been put in jail more often, been whipped times without number, and faced death again and again. Five different times the Jews gave me thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea” (2 Corinthians 11:23-25 New Living Translation).
Some people like to present life as a bed of roses and try to deny their humanity. Paul didn’t do that. He presented himself as a real human being who faced real life’s challenges. And in speaking about his troubles, he wasn’t thinking less of himself. Rather, he presented a balanced report of his life. This is encouraging and instills hope in people today who may be going through similar situations.
Paul continued to talk about his suffering in the ministry, showing that he was a human being, not a god: “I have traveled many weary miles. I have faced danger from flooded rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the stormy seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be Christians but are not. I have lived with weariness and pain and sleepless nights. Often I have been hungry and thirsty and have gone without food. Often I have shivered with cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm” (2 Corinthians 11:26-27).
Don’t think less of yourself because of life’s challenges or because others do so. You may be walking through the valley of the shadow of death. You may not have material things that they celebrate. You may still be standing in faith for the manifestation of the promises of God in your life. You may still be waiting for your breakthrough in life and ministry.
People may be despising you because you have nothing physically on the ground. But don’t think less of yourself. You’re who God says you are. God called Abraham the father of many nations even when he had no child yet. However, don’t also think of yourself more highly than you ought to. Have a correct estimation of yourself in God.
In Galatians 1:1, Paul said he was an apostle not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the dead. What a God-confident man! Similarly, he said in 2 Corinthians 1:1 and Ephesians 1:1 that he was an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God. In other words, he didn’t need anybody’s validation. If they didn’t believe he was an apostle that was their business. He was who God said he was.
Don’t think less of yourself, but don’t think more highly of yourself than you ought to. Notwithstanding what anyone said of Paul, he said, “For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me” (1 Corinthians 15:9-10 New King James Version). Paul emphasized his apostleship in other scriptures; he didn’t think less of himself. He was neither proud. He magnified his ministry.
While you should not think less of yourself, think of yourself less. They are two different things. Some people always focus on themselves alone. It is always about me and me. Everything and every discussion must be about them.
When something positive is being said about another person, they’re uncomfortable and find a way to shift the focus to themselves. They could say, “just like me…”, “I remember when I was…”, “If you had seen what I …”, etc. They don’t know how to celebrate others. They’re self-centred. They think only about themselves. In conversation with people, they are self-opinionated. They must always have their ways. They cannot concede to the better ideas of others.
Don’t be selfish. Think of yourself less; think about others also. Paul wrote to the Philippians, “Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God” (Philippians 1:3 New King James Version). Even when Jesus was in pain on the cross, he still thought of his earthly mother, Mary.
He said to her, “Woman, behold your son!” and to the disciple whom he loved (John), “Behold your mother!” That disciple took her to his own home from that time (John 19:26-27). 1 Corinthians 10:24 says, “Let no one seek [only] his own good, but [also] that of the other person” (Amplified Bible).
Hear what Paul says in Philippians 2:3-4: “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit [through factional motives, or strife], but with [an attitude of] humility [being neither arrogant nor self-righteous], regard others as more important than yourselves. Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others” (Amplified Bible).
Don’t be too self-absorbed that you don’t think of the interests of others. Don’t think less of yourself; think of yourself less.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, help me not to think less of myself but think of myself less. I shall not think of myself more highly than I ought to in Jesus’ name Holy Spirit, help me not to think only of myself but also think about others. Help me not to look out for my personal interests, but also the interests of others.
(For over 600 in-depth and powerful messages by T.O. Banso, visit: www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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