By Jimmy Tuten
I. The danger of placing too high an estimate upon oneself:
A. Humility (vv. 3-5, think of self, but not too highly). We are to think soberly (Gr. sophronein, sanely, in one’s right mind. This cuts the very vitals of human weakness and pride. It prohibits anyone from forming and entertaining an estimate of self above that which is true.
1. Arrogance and pride are all characteristic of the worldly life, but to the Christian self is denied and crucified (Lk. 9:23; Gal. 2:20; 6:14; 2 Cor. 5:15). There is no room for self-elevation, pride, or arrogance . . . no room for thinking too highly of oneself.
2. Essential to a team player (so with members of Christ’s team, 1 Cor. 12).
3. Recognize who we are and what we are (1 Pet. 2:9, royal priesthood, etc.).
4. The reason for walking humbly:
a. What we are and have came from God (“dealt to every man the measure of faith”). This is a working faith that includes abilities (gifts) that God gives.
b. “Measure of faith.” Faith is put for religion, or Christianity, being the main thing in it (2 Cor. 5:7). Hence, confidence in God rather than self (Lk. 14:11). The well-being of the community of believers is dependent upon our understanding of the true estimate of self.
c. Special Note: Some think the “measure” is miraculous (cf. Lard) as expressing itself in the possession and exercise of spiritual gifts. Whiteside has the more correct view, i.e., faith is a measuring instrument, and through the enlightenment afforded by the faith one should be governed thereby in the estimate formed of one’s self (cf. Eph. 4:7,13; 2 Cor. 10:12-13).
(1) “Soberly,” Gr. phroneo, right mind, being sane, sensible estimate of self. This sensibleness is first vertical (in relation to God’s estimate), then horizontal (man to man, 2 Cor. 10: 12ff).
(2) Man must first see himself as nothing, the acceptance of which makes him something for God. Meekness is the first requirement for obedience to God (Matt. 5:3, i.e., seeing one’s true worth in relation to God).
d . It includes the faith, the drive, or confidence to use the gifts, be they natural or spiritual (Matt. 17:20; 1 Cor. 13:2, faith being a divine gift is something about which one man can boast). Let us appropriate God’s Word, believe what God says about us, admit what we really are and enter by faith into what we should be. Examples of thinking too highly: “I don’t miss a service” so I have the right to judge those who miss Sunday night.
e. Summary: Measure of faith is the God-given natural capacity to absorb the instruction in the Word, thus being able to try out in practice the ability we possess.
B. Usefulness (vv. 6-8). Cf. Jas. 1:17; 1 Cor. 4:7. Each has received from God a measure, but he has received it! We must use it!
I live for those who love me, for those who know me true,
For the heaven that smiles above me, and awaits my spirit too;
For the cause that lacks assistance, for the wrong that needs resistance,
For the future in the distance, and the good that I can do.
– George Banks
1. 2 Corinthians 6:1, workers together with God.
2. Christians must be workers (“dealt to every man”). We must be workers together with other Christians. We must work together with God.
3. Working is not enough; working together is not enough; working together with God is what God requires.
4. Many bind themselves to some man-made purpose or goal, but surprisingly enough, many work together quite well under it. But God does not accept it. The plan to work must be from God (2 Tim. 2:5; 1 Tim. 1:8).
5. If we are to be useful it must in accordance with God’s plan (Matt. 7:23; Psa. 127: 1; Matt. 15:13).
Which Are You?
Two brothers once lived down this way:
One was DO, the other was SAY.
If the streets were dirty, the taxes high,
Or the schools were crowded, SAY would cry,
“My, what a town.” But brother DO,
Would set to work and make things new.
And while DO worked, SAY would cry:
“He does it wrong. I know that I
Could do it right!” So all the day
Was heard the crank of brother SAY.
But this one fact was never hid;
SAY always talked; DO always did!
1. Realization of our relationship in Christ will prove an effective preventive of pride, breeding the spirit of humility in the exercise of any and all responsibilities.
2. How badly the church needs this truth. Nothing would better harmonize her life and remove her petty bickerings, jealousies, and criticisms that so often arises in the ordinary course of her activities.
3. Let us have an attitude of readiness of whatever service the Lord may require of us. The act becomes the attitude, life-long and constant; always yielded, willing, waiting, to do his will.
4. As a man soweth, so shall he reap (Gal. 6:7, “the thorns that I have reaped are of the tree I planted. I should have known what fruit would spring from such a seed” – Lord Byron). Another has said:
“If I had thought – If I had dreamed the gallows was meant for me, I’d never have built it quite so high or half so sturdily.”
5. “Have this mind in you . . .” (Phil. 2:5-11).
Guardian of Truth XXXV: 10, pp. 309-310
May 16, 1991