An Honest Evaluation
Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.
Do you know people who want the “glory” without the work? My husband encountered a delusional youth when he was subbing for one of his dad’s classes at the Bible College a few years back. This 19ish guy said he didn’t need to finish the class because he already knew everything and could “preach circles around Chuck Smith.” Wow! At 19? With none of the study, none of the time, none of the sacrifices, and none of the service he felt he was ready to fill up a stadium. I think of this incident not only because this passage from Romans tells me to have an “honest evaluation of myself” (and he clearly did not), but I also remember this guy because he didn’t understand the “measure yourself by the faith God has given us” part.
Measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us... God gives us experience. Whether crafted by him or “worked together for good” (see Romans 8:28), God uses everything as an opportunity for us. And by doing so, He gives us lots of chances to allow our faith to grow.
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
Bible College Guy believed he was perfect, complete, and needing nothing without any of the endurance required to get like that. Measuring ourselves by the faith God has given us is also consistent with an element of time. God is pleased with any amount of faith (see Hebrews 11:6), but it’s foolish for Believers to compare themselves with each other (2 Corinthians 10:12) because we don’t have the same experiences over time that shape our faith. But we are all called to continue on right where we’re at according to Philippians 3:12-14...
I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it,[d] but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
The good thing about the arrogance of that kid is that if he repented of his pride at any point from then till now that would give him opportunity to experience more of God’s grace and allow his measure of faith to grow.
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment.
Thank you for increasing me faith and for reminding me today that you’re not comparing me to other Believers, you’re comparing me to your Son and give me lots of opportunities to be like him. And out of your grace and love give me your Holy Spirit too to make it possible to imitate Jesus and press on. I love you so much and enjoy the relief that you don’t expect instant perfection from me, but you take the time to shape my character without making me feel like I should spiritually be where someone else is. Thank you. And I pray in Jesus’ name, amen.