Jan 10, 2016 | David Crosby

Assessing Yourself

Worship is the renewing of your mind. It restores the perspective that should prevail in us all the time. It reorients our lives with Christ as the center. It reorganizes our priorities so that we reflect in word and deed the Savior who brought us God’s mercy.

This renewal of the mind involves three dimensions of relationships: my relationship with God, my relationship with myself, and my relationship with others.

The scripture deals with our internal life, the life of our mind and soul and spirit—our interior life. This life is personal, invisible, and central to all that we are and all that we do.

I want us to work this morning on how we think—the mental processes that order our world and call us to action.

 

Begin Thinking in Grace

Christ is my center

Paul is modeling a way to think of and to speak to the body, the other members. Paul is speaking out of grace given to him.

Grace in your calling.

  • He is speaking out of his own calling. He is an apostle, an ambassador of Christ Jesus. He has a high assessment of himself.
  • What is your calling? You have some idea about your call. A job is about money. A calling is about the grace of God given to you as a member of the family of God. It is your vocation, from the Latin vocare, “to call.”
  • I want you to identify now at least one calling that you might have from God.

Grace in your giftedness.

  • Paul speaks out of his own giftedness. He is a teacher, an exhorter, an evangelist, and church planter. But he does not see his own giftedness as extraordinary. He knows that he is not the greatest speaker in the world. He is not impressive as some are. He comes across as weak sometimes instead of strong.
  • Do you know your gifts? You must be honest about this. You must see your gifts, not as your own, but as the grace of God active in your life. Your gifts are grace-gifts, charismata in verse 6.
  • I want you to identify right now one gift that you think God might have given you out of his grace. Jot it down somewhere.

Grace in your opportunities.

  • Paul is speaks out of his own opportunities and circumstances. This grace from God covers not only his salvation and calling and gifts. It grants each opportunity and relationship.
  • You also can identify the grace of God in your opportunities—your circumstances and relationships.
  • I want you to identify one opportunity that you think you have that may have come from God.

Grace in your speaking.

  • Paul is speaking to every one, each one, to you and me. He is doing so in the grace of God, out of God’s mercy.
  • You also can and must speak out of Grace.
  • I want you to identify one speaking relationship, one-on-one or to a group, that God has given you where you can and must speak out of grace.

 

Be Honest About Yourself

You are a Steward

You need to be honest with yourself and about yourself. We are often  self-deceived. No one is pulling the wool over our eyes. We are doing that to ourselves.

When I was 23, in 1976, my father asked me to move with the family to Houston. He wanted to bring our singing group back together, the four of us, among whom I was the oldest. I already had a wife and a child, and I was the pastor of a church. I had to tell my father that I believed my bests gifts were in being a pastor of a church rather than traveling with my brothers.

Use sober judgment. The word here is sophroneo, “whole-thinking.” We use the word “sober” to describe a person who is not drunk or high. We even say things like, “I’ve been sober for six months,” meaning that my mind has not been warped by mind-altering, addictive drugs for six months. Or “I’m not on anything,” meaning that I don’t have anything in my body that would warp my thinking.

  • You tend to “think of yourself more highly than you ought.” That is, you often and usually over-estimate your own abilities and gifts. The word here is hyper-phroneo, “to think with hype.” You think that you can do it better yourself. “If you want something done right, do it yourself” kind of thinking.
  • You may also under-estimate yourself. You may think of yourself as trash, garbage, taking up space and breathing air but having nothing to contribute to the community or the world.
  • Both of these faulty self-concepts lead to sin. The first leads to pride. If you over-estimate your own importance and abilities this proverb will come true in you: Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall (Prov. 16:18). If you under-estimate yourself, your own importance and abilities, you are likely to commit the sin of sloth. To the servant who was too fearful, to untrusting of his own abilities, to do anything with the portion entrusted to him, but buried it in the ground, His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27  Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers’ (Matthew 25:26-27).
    • The fear of making a decision, the sin of doing nothing with your gifts, is judged by the master to be lazy and wicked.
  • We cannot escape this fundamental requirement of life: we must assess ourselves according to some standard of measurement.

Faith is the standard of measure for Self-assessment. We assess ourselves in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each.

  • We live in grace. We assess ourselves in faith.
  • “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen” (Heb. 11:6).
  • Faith is my active and living connection to God. “Without faith it is impossible to please him” (Heb. 11:2).

Mary may have been as young as 15 or 16 when she was told by the angel that she would bear the Christ child. Think of yourself at that age. You knew some things, of course. But now you are going to be made responsible for God’s one and only Son? She responded in faith: “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said” (Luke 1:38).

Consider Your Belongings

You Belong to Others.

BLONG” sounds like a “GONG” on a very deep drum. The belongings of which I speak are not things but relationships. They are about your be-ing and about your longings. 

You know yourself as belonging to the Body of Christ.

  • This is part of your self-knowledge. You belong to something of vast significance and incredible potential.
  • You are not to assess yourself in isolation from this significant connection. You are to assess yourself soberly in this connection as well as your calling, gifts, and opportunities.
  • Paul would want you all to be “churchmen” and “churchwomen.” The church is the “gathered community of faith,” and that is who you are.
  • If you speak of your church in the third person, saying “they” do this or that, then you have not yet connected mentally and spiritually as you should. Use the first person, “I” and “we,” “mine” and “our” when speaking of the church where you belong.

You know yourself as belonging to all the other members: each member belongs to all the others (v5).

  • I have opportunities. This kind of connection within this family of faith can only happen if we all receive it as truth and work at every day in every way possible.
  • I have responsibilities. This kind of belonging means that I cannot simply do whatever suits me. I must now think of those to whom I belong and who belong to me. Just as Christ will never leave me or forsake me, so I must think of myself in connection to my brothers and sisters in the body. I will not leave them, neglect them, ignore them, or alienate them.

You know yourself in a vital part of the body.

  • You have a unique and indispensable function and role in the body.
  • You are part of a team that cannot do without you.

Conclusion: Do not miss this amazing linkage, connection that is afforded to you in grace. Maximize its potential for your own life, for the lives of those you love, and for the other members of the body who depend on you to function in your gift and calling.

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