3 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.
each according to the measure [apportion] of faith
The word “measure” here means that God distributes to each Christian an endowment for doing His work. This endowment is a special, supernatural gift for doing ministry. The believer is to measure himself against the gift God gave him. We measure our role in the church through this proper method of self-evaluation. The fact that we have a gift is no basis for an attitude of superiority over others.
The word “faith” here refers to trust in what God will do with our gifts. Our faith enables us to use our spiritual gifts. Using our spiritual gifts by faith allows the church to function properly in ministry.
God gives every believer a quantity of faith whereby he or she can serve Him. God has a standard for doing this, but that standard is not the same for all Christians. This faith does not come from personal virtue but comes to the believer as a gift of God. A sober or measured estimation of oneself recognizes that faith does not come from self but from God.
Ro 14:1, Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things.
“Faith” is the means whereby God works through believers. The gift of faith is variable according to what endowment God gives them. There is a difference between faith and the gift of faith. Faith is the gateway to the gifts. Faith here has to do with thinking of ourselves according to the specific gifts God gave us (vv. 6-8). We are to look at ourselves in view of the contribution we can make to the local church. Christians cannot be proud of their gifts, since it was God who gave them these prerogatives.
Faith here then refers to the stewardship of our gifts. If Christians apply the Word of God by believing what God says about them, they will acknowledge what they are and move in the direction God would have for them. Do we exercise our spiritual endowments with proficiency and excellence?
that God has assigned.
God allots every believer gifts at the point of salvation. Christians do not choose their gifts; rather, the Holy Spirit assigns them (1 Co 12:11).
A person’s gift does not determine his worth. Because a person has the gift of leadership does not mean that he is more valuable to the congregation than another person who has the gift of helps. It does not mean that he or she is superior to others.
God made each believer unique in the way He gifted each of us.
There is a tension between two points of extremity in ministry. One point is pride and the other is underestimation of our giftedness. Pride destroys fellowship in the local church, but lack of confidence in using our giftedness to serve the body of Christ will not meet the need of the congregation. We miscalculate if we go to either extreme. We do not want to think that we are greater than we are and we do not want to be less than what God wants us to be. We can think more highly of ourselves than we ought to think and we can think less of our capabilities than we ought to think.
To think less of ourselves than we ought to think is also a distortion. This produces false humility and false understanding of the reality of things. Pride in our humility is a very subtle and dangerous form of arrogance. Spiritual pride is worst of all.
The Uriah Heeps of this world are as sinful as the haughty person who rides on his high horse. God wants us to think in a sober or disciplined way about ourselves. We are not to think more or less of ourselves than what we are or what gifts we may possess.
The gifts that we possess are solely because of God’s grace. We use them by faith to serve God and the church. Each Christian receives the proper gift and resources needed to fulfill his or her place the body of Christ.
We cannot exercise our gifts without faith. We are dependent on God for the use of our gifts.