The Christian life should be a life of humility.
Every believer’s top priority is to present himself as a living sacrifice to God. It is a life of consecration. It is an act of supreme worship. It is the only way we can be what God wants us to be, or do what God wants us to do. It marks the entrance into usefulness to God.
Paul follows his exhortation to be living sacrifices in chapter 12 by explaining to the Romans that their lives should be marked with humility. Verse 3 says,
But 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.
A true attitude of humility is one of proper evaluation of self. We must think of ourselves in a proper perspective. A renewed mind (v.2) sees everything through grace. Our worldview has changed. As living sacrifices we have no status other than sinners who have fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 6:23). What we do have is a measure of faith that God has given. This God-given measure of faith levels the playing field.
To think “soberly” (KJV), or to think with sound judgment leads us to realize that we are nothing apart from Christ. but it also leads us to realize that in Christ we can be used to the glory of God through the gifts given by the Holy Spirit. The grace we have received is God’s assignment for us in the body of Christ.
And body is the analogy that Paul makes. Verses 4-5 state:
For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
Just as a body has many parts with various functions, and work in harmony to complete their task, also the church is made of many members with various functions, yet they work in harmony to complete their task. His point is that when every person in the church views himself with sound judgement, or humility, each will accomplish the part of the church’s task that he has been gifted to accomplish. It is diversified unity.
To illustrate what proper humility looks like, and to give a practical example of this diversified unity, Paul shows how spiritual gifts should be utilized:
Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
This is not an exposition of the spiritual gifts. His intent is not to explain what they are, but rather how they should be employed. He is assuming that the Romans already know about them, and doesn’t feel the need to be exhaustive in listing them. But the exercise of spiritual gifts, he explains, should be in accordance to the grace that has been given. This means that no one has the right to boast about his gift. Again, the playing field is leveled. We should remember that our ability to serve others is a product of God’s grace.
A life of humility is one lived in service to God and others. The humble servant understands that everything he has is a gift from God. He has no room to boast in regard to the spiritual gift he has received, but exercises it in service to the church to the glory of God.