Romans 12: 3-13
Before we can serve, grow and even exercise our Spiritual Gifts, and take advantage of the wonders and opportunities that God has given us, something must happen. That something is very destructive and needs to be cleared out of the way for us to move in His Way- and that is our pride! We must be honest about ourselves and seek Him as Lord not by who we are and what we can do. The second thing we need to do before effectively using our gifts and opportunities is learning and knowing we are all interconnected to one another in Christ and we are called to work together and function in cooperation not against or in antagonism with other Christians.
· For I say…Everyone, Paul tells us to function with Christ and with efficiency we must affirm and cooperate with each of our special abilities and functions. Honor others abilities and gifts too. This goes beyond the function of a priest as we are all now called to minister and we do this with harmony! How we are to treat each other and ourselves? It is by removing pride and focusing on Christ and not ourselves! Although this is not a normal topic in today's Christianity, it is, however, a necessary one. We still to use our gifts and have confidence.
· The grace given, Paul realized that he and his ministry exist solely by God's grace and so must we! Paul, people, Christians, and ministry all exist because of Christ's work of grace. Never forget who you are! We must never allow our leadership position, or who we are in Christ to "puff us up!" A condescending Christian is an "oxymoron" (with the emphases on being a moron!) Like "jumbo shrimp," the two terms just do not go together! When we have a healthy grasp of our redemption, then our self-esteem should be boiling over with Christ-esteem. We must have a correct self-image of ourselves, not just one of "self esteem," or who we are to ourselves and people around us, but of who we are in relationship with our Lord. What He has done for us must perambulate us!
· More highly than you ought, this is a call to remove pride and recognize others value and worth too (Job 41:34; 2 Chron. 26:16; 32:26; Psalm 10:4-5; 18:27; 31:18; 56:2; 59:12; 62:10; 73:6-12; 101:5; 131:1; 6:17; Prov. 8:13; 11:2; 13:10; 16:18; 21:4; 24; 29:23; 30:13; Isa. 2:11-21; 13:19; 16: 6; 23:9; Ezek. 28:2; Obad. 1:3; 1 Cor. 1:6; 2 Cor. 5:12; 7:4; Gal. 6:4; and these are just a few!).
· Think soberly, means to be realistic what you are called and gifted to do because who we are in Christ. Who we are to Christ is the most significant thing in the universe for the Christian! Thus, we should never feel insecure or have the "poor me" attitude when we have Christ in our lives (Gal. 3 6: 3-5). We need to be over comers. This is a tough task, but we can do it with our Lord at the helm! The opposite is true too. We are not to think we are "little gods" or "rulers of our domain." We are never to go beyond our self-image at others expense, and especially the Lord's. He is God. We are not! Being a depressed Christian is shameful (unless there are times of loss and brokenness or chemical imbalance in the brain…and if this is so, one should seek godly help from qualified pastors and counselors.) To continue in a life style of depression (without seeking help) and poor self-image is unnecessary. Christ died to rid us of this kind of shame!
Have you considered that a Christian who is well off and who does nothing for another Christian who is in poverty or need is being an abomination before God? Such acts would have revolted most Greek philosophers because it is hypocritical. All ancient moralists believed we must take care of one another and as a Pastor, unfortunately, I have really seen this! Paul emphatically emphasis the imperative call that we must get along with one another in order to serve Christ truly and effectively as well as model Him to the world! Then we must look out and help one another, this is our great witness to those in the world! When we fail at this we are failing our Lord! We have to see how important it is how we treat each other. This is imperative to the Lord and demonstrates His love to the world!
1. How do you repay people who tease or joke at your expense?
2. Why would we as Christians fight amongst ourselves instead of exercising unity as Christ calls us to do?
3. What is pride and how can you get rid of it?
4. To serve Christ effectively we must be infused with what? Why do some people find that so hard to do?
5. What is the correct self-image for we as Christians? What can you do to develop a healthy image of who you are in Christ?
6. Christ-esteem means what to you?
7. Who are you in Christ? Why is this the most significant thing in the universe for the Christian?
8. Why would some Christians feel insecure or have the "poor me" attitude when they have Christ in their lives?
9. Read Gal. 6: 2-5. How can you test your own actions? What do you need to get rid of so you can carry your own load? Thus, we should never_________?
10. Why should we not think of ourselves as "little gods", or "rulers of our domain"?
11. Why would being a depressed Christian who does not seek help be shameful?
12. What causes a leader in Christ to "puff" himself up? Why is a condescending Christian an "oxymoron"?
13. How is unity is a responsibility? So, what are the responsibilities? For us to function in unity, what do we need to see in each other? For us to function in unity, why is diversity so important?
14. How and why are some Christians more concerned with their own needs and agendas rather than with God's clear doctrine and purpose?
15. What can the church do to guard herself against pride from her leaders?
16. What do you need to do to put humbleness and sharing with one another above your own agenda and needs?
17. We are never to go beyond our self-image (will and pride) at another's expense, and especially the Lord's. So, how can you set up a check and balance system for yourself and/or your church to guard against it?
18. What do you need to do to be an over comer, to be one who is not bogged down in depression and a "poor me "attitude? This is a tough task, but we can do it with our Lord at the helm.
©1998, 2001, 2005, Rev. Richard J. Krejcir, Discipleship Tools www.discipleshiptools.org