This scripture that came to mind this morning as I was pondering on this was in Romans 12:3
"For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgement, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given each of you. Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us."
What does it look like to look at yourself with sober judgement? Everything we have received has been received as a free gift given by the Lord, not because of anything we have earned or deserved it, but freely given, and in that place we become thankful for all that the Lord has given us, and not proud because we could not attain it on our own. In looking at yourself with sober judgement you realise there is still much to learn, that you don't have it all together, that without Christ we have nothing.
Often in trying to help others or share with others the things the Lord has taught us, we may find ourselves entering into 'spiritual hierarchy' without even realising it, and in that place you are thinking of yourself more highly than you ought. Recently Jim and I have been in discussions with several different cultures and walks of experience of faith in the Lord, in trying to see a vision that God has given fulfilled. And although there were things we didn't yet see 'eye to eye' in, because of our different journeys in the Lord, if we let those things divide us as people, we are no longer walking in love. And yet they have things we need to learn, and we have things they need to learn. If we enter into a place where we think we have all the answers and we can't learn anything from them, then we have entered into thinking of ourselves more highly than we ought.
Each of us has walked a different journey, each of us has been given different gifts and levels of faith. So in this place its very important to look at yourself and not others and where they are at.
Romans 14:1-4 "Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgement on disputable matters. One man's faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand."
Through the passage above its not just talking about the food we eat but the judgement we put on another because of the things they may or may not do, the things they say or not say, the things they step out in and the things they don't in faith. It covers every spectrum of our walk I believe where we want to judge and condemn another or ourselves and enter into disputable matters and fall into a trap of thinking one is more spiritual than another. Yet we cannot judge God's servant because that person is accountable to God and not to us.
Romans 13:8 "Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. v10 Love your neighbour as yourself. Love does no harm to its neighbour. There love is the fulfillment of the law."
A debt remains outstanding if we can no longer have fellowship with another because of a difference of opinion, because of disputable matters, because of spiritual knowledge that separates instead of unites and we have fallen into a trap of considering ourselves more highly than we ought.
So I encourage you this morning, to take time on a regular basis to sit with the Lord and allow him to show you any area that you may find yourself thinking yourself more highly than you ought as it is so easy to do as we share our faith, our belief, our opinions with others.