Self-Assessment - Week of December 6th

By Judy Nichols

December 6, 2015

Who do you think you are? What are your strengths and weaknesses? These are questions that might be answered in your job resume, or asked at some kind of psychological seminar. Who we think we are impacts every facet of our lives, our relationships, our work performance, our thought life, our whole destiny, in fact.

In Romans 12:3 Paul admonished his readers not to think more highly of themselves than they ought, but to have a realistic assessment according to the measure of faith they had received. The foundation for making such an assessment is in the previous two verses. He urges us to offer ourselves to God as our spiritual service of worship, and this sacrifice, he says, is holy and acceptable to God. The only reason why it is acceptable, of course, is because the blood of Jesus Christ has cleansed us of our sin. He further encourages us to resist being conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of our minds, so that we can prove His ability to transform us by acting on his commands. We dare not think more highly of ourselves than we ought, lest we demean Christ’s sacrifice. And our constant battle with the flesh (not to mention the world and the devil) should by all means keep us from an inflated view of our progress in transformation.

Paul goes on, using the analogy of the human body and its differing parts to expand the realistic self-assessment to comparing ourselves with others. We are all one body in Christ, though we have different gifts and functions. In 1 Corinthians 12, he expounds on the unity and mutual care that should characterize a healthy body. "But

God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another" (v.24-25).

In verses 6-8 of Romans 12, he not only gives examples of various gifts, but also cautions against some attitudes that might reveal an unrealistic self-assessment. Those who prophesy should do so only when they believe God is revealing something, rather than just trying to impress others. Those who have a gift of giving should not be grudging about it, but generous. Those who lead must be diligent, since, in many cases, they do not have anyone to whom they are accountable for their performance. Those who have a gift of mercy should not grow weary, but persevere in ministering to the hurting with gladness.

These pitfalls are so common! I have fallen into most of them myself. While I lay no claim to being a prophet, I have been known to write a devotional piece without a real sense of having heard from God, just because there’s a deadline ahead of me. I have felt my generosity strained by persistent and overt neediness of others. (I say this not to condemn anyone but myself.) And I have at times grown weary in well-doing.

Once again, as I assess myself, I find I must fall before the cross and say, "Lord, have mercy on me, the sinner!"

© Judy Nichols 2015

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