For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.
–Romans 12:3 NASB
I often wonder what it must have been like for the boy Jesus to live among mere mortals. Did He know that He was of superior intellect, superior morals, superior wisdom, than all those around him? What did He think the first time He realized that someone else in His family was lying? Or cheating? Or…sinning!
I’ve had friends (and unfortunately, a child) who are very strong intellectually, and I’ve seen the look on their faces and in their eyes as they explain something to me (again) and I don’t get it. They realize that I don’t understand something that they don’t even have to work at understanding. Ironically, I do understand that look.
How did Jesus NOT go around with that look constantly on His face? He was always in the presence of others who knew less. Yet His great invitation, “Come to me,” in Matthew 11:28-30 is offered with the words of identity, “I am gentle and humble of heart.” He knew who He was, and He knew who those around Him were, and still He acted gently with an attitude of humility. I am challenged as I think about doing the same to those around me.
Ignatius wrote about humility as seeing oneself in truth. And I wonder if that “truth” is the meeting place of the “sound judgment” and “measure of faith” that Paul wrote about. What kind of vision for ourselves might we have if we hold those two in tension? Perhaps a vision that is grounded in the God who created us and given wings by the Spirit who dwells within. A vision thus ensconced in humility is liberating, as it frees us from the burdens of pretense and deception.
So, who are you really? Who has God created you to be? And what vision of yourself is He calling you to embrace by faith? What kind of resistance do you sense within as you shed areas of pretense or deception in order to be more fully present to those around you? In other words, what would it be like to just be yourself—nothing more than God created you to be? My prayer is that throughout our lives we would consistently be drawn back to truth—about God, about ourselves, and about this world we’re a part of—so that others might have a clearer vision of Jesus because of us.
ACTION: What stirs in you as you read these words? In what ways do you sense efforts to be something you are not? In what situations do you find yourself holding back in relationships? What would it be like to give without inhibition?