Thinking Soberly

Oh no … with that title, here comes a Randy Buchman rant on the evils of alcohol. Not this time, though most of you know what I think about that!

Today is a takeoff on this Scripture from Romans 12:3 …

For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

I’d like to think that I could throw a fastball like my favorite guys at Camden Yards, and I made 10s of thousands of throws growing up to do it … but could never make it into the high 80s.  I’d like to think I could run like Frank Shorter, but I couldn’t even run at my best the number of miles he ran in a week when in a rest mode. I’d like to think I’m a legit Civil War scholar like the guys whose books I read, but honestly, they’ve forgotten more than I’ve learned.

Apparently we have increasingly encouraged a new generation of Americans to such an extent that they think they are rather significantly special and gifted.

A 47-year study of 9 million young adults has revealed that more than ever, college students are more likely to view themselves as especially gifted and talented – even in the face of declining statistical analyses to support the contention. Those who self identify as particularly gifted has risen 30% in the past 30 years. Much blame for this is placed upon the abilities of technology – through such as Facebook and Twitter – to make oneself the center of one’s world, replete with huge numbers of “friends” and “followers”.

And I suppose this result is the fruit of participation trophies in youth sports, granted to kids for simply being on the team and finishing the season, whether they won anything or not. This is the fruit of grade inflation and re-centered SAT standards. It is the end result of the self-esteem movement.

But what’s wrong with self-esteem? Well, understood correctly, nothing … for it is actually a proper and healthy view of self in the universe. That is, if one sees oneself for what he is in Christ, and only because of God’s grace.

That passage quoted above from Romans goes on to say that we have each been given gifts for the service of others – that we might give what is beneficial to others, even as we receive where we lack. And in Christ, one is – to quote Anchorman – “kind of a big deal.” A person in Christ is royalty (1 Peter 2:9) and an ambassador of the King of Kings (2 Corinthians 5:21). But not because of what we have done, but because of Christ’s work and God’s grace in opening our eyes to this truth.

May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whichthe world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. – Galatians 6:14

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One thought on “Thinking Soberly

  1. Hi Randy,

    I just had a few add-on thoughts. One thought is that scripture also commands us to “esteem others better than yourselves”. That scripture was quite a challenge for me a decade or so ago. Now, at least I can esteem others better than myself … but not as consistently as I should.

    Our society is very segmented and specialized. So we can often be among the “best” or highly skilled at what we do in whatever little area we find outselves.

    People can get their information from sources that encourage them to think highly of themselves and less of others. News outlets report different angles. And since news often reports “bad news” and “dirty laundry” and selectively reports and harps on errors, pretty soon people can end up believing that their favorite politician is so much smarter than other politicians.

    Only God has a real “God’s eye view”. We so often fall short of his main purpose for our lives — to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and our neighbor as ourselves. The worries and cares of life are “weeds” that distract us from fulfilling his purposes for our lives. On that note, I’ll try and get off the computer and offer a prayer for “all the saints”.

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