Friday, November 5, 2010

Think with Sober Judgment

“Think with sober judgment” (Romans 12:3)

I love the picture Paul paints in our minds when he writes the words, “Think with sober judgment.” Sober has the idea of showing self-control or rationality. In this case Paul is challenging Christians to “think with sober judgment” when establishing a right view of yourself stemming from a high view of God. He is ultimately speaking of humility in the life of the Christian. I know this is something I need a heavy dose of in my own thinking and judgment.

Paul has spent the first eleven chapters of Romans speaking of God’s great mercy and grace to sinners like you and me. He has established the reality that we are utterly unable to save ourselves but he, through Christ, justifies us by his grace making us sons and daughters of his kingdom. This is amazing! Paul starts chapter twelve saying, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers.” He is appealing to those who have been saved by grace based on God’s work laid out in the first eleven chapters. “By the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship” (Romans 12:1). In response to God’s great mercy we joyfully present ourselves as an offering to God as an act of worship to him. We are then instructed not to conform to this world, but be transformed by renewing our minds, discerning God’s will so we may know what is good and acceptable and perfect (Romans 12:2). As Christians we are called to be transformed, in our minds, by God’s will through his Word so that we may be a discerning people in this wicked world. Satan is crafty and smarter than anyone of us but he is not stronger or smarter than God. Therefore we are called to renew are minds so that we may “think with sober judgment.”

Satan gets a grip on our lives when we begin to think we are great. When pride creeps in our lives Satan uses that to tear us down. We are all familiar with the Proverb: “Pride goes before destruction” (16:18). To destroy us is the aim of Satan. We must have a right view of ourselves and know the will of God in order to fight against the wiles of the Devil. Paul says, “For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment” (Romans 12:3). As I said earlier I enjoy the picture because we can easily see what Paul is saying. Sadly, we have all either seen a drunken person or seen in the news the story of someone being hit by a drunk driver. This is the image. Those who are rejecting God in their pride are those who think they are going about life the right way but in the end it leads to destruction. They are like the drunken man thinking everything is okay when their judgment is completely impaired. This is a dangerous state of mind. But for those who are followers of Jesus Christ and have God’s grace filling them, they are presenting their bodies as a sacrifice to God, discerning the will of God and should have a humble perspective about themselves which produces sober judgment. The sober man is able to control himself and be rational when making decisions but this is all of grace.

Christian, do have a high view of yourself? Are you more concerned about your wants and needs than presenting yourself before God as a sacrifice of worship unto him? Are you growing in the knowledge of God so that you may know his will for your life? Do you “think with sober judgment”? May we all examine our hearts and lives to see whether this work is taking place in us this very day. By God’s grace and mercy we can trust him to faithfully fulfill his promises to us.

Grace upon grace,

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