A sane view of oneself
"... Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment ..." (v.3)
We continue trying to clear up the misunderstandings that surround the word "humility." Humility has often been confused with that sad state which we describe as an "inferiority complex." But however much humility and an inferiority complex resemble each other -- and one has to admit that superficially they do look alike -- humility is deeply different.
Humility is not the result of being badly mishandled in childhood, nor is it a nervous illness. Neither is it derived from a foolish comparison with other people. Humility is a true and absorbing view of oneself seen from God's point of view. Paul urges us in our passage today not to think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think, "but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith" (v.3, NKJV).
These verses are sometimes interpreted as meaning that we should have a low opinion of ourselves, but look again at what the apostle is saying: "... not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly." We should not think of ourselves more highly than we ought, but by the same token, we should not think of ourselves more lowly than we ought. We must have a sane and balanced estimate of ourselves -- one that is not too high and not too low. Humility, as we said yesterday, flows from a correct viewof God, but it also flows from a correct view of ourselves. These two facts need overhauling and emphasizing in today's Church, for I am convinced that a large percentage of Christians have neither a correct view of God nor a correct view of themselves.
My Father and my God, I pray once again that You will help me come to a clear understanding of this issue. Help me get my perspectives right -- my perspective on You and my perspective on myself. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
For Further Study
1. What is the "pride of life"?
2. What accompanies pride?