sober thinking

Humble people serve other people, while proud people wait to be served.


If you’re getting to a point in your spiritual walk with the Lord where you want to excel and do more kingdom work, I have good news for you: God wants that for you as well!

QUESTION: How can you increase your current level of faithfulness when it comes to serving people inside and outside of your local church?

ANSWER: You need to present your body a living sacrifice. Once you present yourself to God, according to His terms, the serving part becomes a piece of cake. Well, almost. Allow me to explain.

The apostle Paul wrote to the people in the church at Roman the following:

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:1-2).


  • God wants you LIVING, not dead. You serve others in your daily living.
  • The Lord of salvation also wants you presenting a body to Him that is holy and acceptable. That is, you aren’t harboring sin in your life.
  • Paul then says that doing this isn’t asking too much of God’s people. In fact, to do this is “reasonable service.”
  • We’re also not to be conformed to the world. That means we don’t take on the external facade of worldliness. We don’t live a life of worldliness so that we appear like unsaved people.
  • Moreover, we are to be transformed from the INSIDE-OUT. And this is to be done be renewing our minds, through reading, mediating, and memorizing Scripture.

So…… are you doing with those two verses? I ask because you can’t really do verse three all that well if you fail to put into place verses one and two.

Here’s what Romans 12:3 says:

For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.”

Below are 8 observations about why thinking soberly about yourself will inevitably lead to faithfully serving others around you.

1. Human Responsibility vs. Divine Sovereignty.

Paul first says “I say” and then immediately follows that up with, “through the grace given to me.” Paul is about to explain why pride needs to be torn from your life in order to live a life that serves others. Pride is a hindrance to ministry. Proud people don’t serve you, humble people do. As an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, Paul was given a “grace” he didn’t create himself. He was explaining what we Christians need to do, but Paul also knew that the position he exercised over them in the Lord was given to him by the Lord. Paul “served” people through the grace of God.

2. There is no such thing as an “exempt” Christian.

Paul wrote these commands/instructions “to everyone who is among you.” Every single Christian at your church–regardless of age–is to be a servant of others. No person is exempt from the privilege of serving others, regardless of your old age, understanding of the Bible, etc. God saved you and He expects you to serve other people. According to the Lord, this is our “reasonable service.”

3. Ministry begins with humility of self.

Paul wrote that a person is “not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think.” In other words, we are to first think of ourselves, but to do so in a godly manner. Each Christian needs to carefully evaluate, estimate, and determine his or her own level of talents and spiritual gifts, and then decide how these can be used to serve others.

4. Don’t bite off more than you can chew, spiritually.

Again, Paul wrote that a person is “not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think.” In other words, do what you can to stretch yourself in ministry, but don’t break yourself be attempting to do more than God has gifted you for. We all have different levels of spiritual giftedness, and no two Christians are gifted the same. Do what you’re capable of doing, and do it with all your might!

5. Thinking soberly about yourself means to understand yourself from God’s perspective alone.

Paul wrote that we are to “think soberly.” This means clear-headedness, but it means even more than that. It literally means: to think with correct thinking. And the only true and correct thinking is the kind of thinking that God alone provides. This is true humility of one’s self. To be humble is not to think you’re better than other people, nor is it to esteem yourself as rubbish, dirt, or less than you’re true value. It means to value something correctly, according to its true worth.

6. It forces you to accept yourself for who you are in the Lord, rather than who you “wish” you were.

When explaining about our individual giftedness, Paul wrote this: “as God as dealt to each one.” Why are you gifted the way you are? Because God decided that’s how He wanted to make you. He could have made you the world’s greatest orator, but He didn’t. Maybe He gifted you to be uniquely equipped with the gifts of helps or administration or faith or even discernment. That’s how God wants to you use you to serve others. The Holy Spirit uniquely ministers to other people, through you, according to the gifts He sovereignly placed in you.

7. Every Christian has a divine “limitation” on his or her spiritual potential.

Paul wrote that God dealt “to each one a measure.” Did you catch that? You have received a certain “measure” of spiritual giftedness. There is a capacity, if you will, to what you can do, so don’t try to do more than you’re capable of. God has given to some people a greater measure and to others He has specifically measured less. But the fact of the matter is that there has unlikely been anyone who has ever lived who actually lived up to the “potential” that God specifically “measured” to him or her. And you’ll never know how best to faithfully serve others until you begin thinking soberly about all this.

8. The effectiveness of your spiritual stewardship is determined by what you believe God will do through you.

The last word in this verse is “faith.” God specifically measured to your account an amount of faith. This isn’t referring to salvation faith, the faith a person exercises for salvation. This “faith” is how much you trust God to do things in and through you. In other words, if you think that God could never use you in greater ways, then you probably won’t allow Him to. If, however, you have the mindset that God can do anything through you as He sees fit, and you’re willing to step outside your comfort zone in order to make it happen, then God will do much more through you, when compared to the person who exercises a limited amount of faith.

So, there you have it.┬áSober thinking about yourself leads to faithful ministry to other people. If you aren’t serving others or involved in any real ministry, guess what that likely means?

  • It probably means you’ve never presented yourself as available to God in order to be used as a living sacrifice.
  • Or maybe you’re harboring unconfessed and unrepented sin in your life (not living holy and acceptable to God).
  • Or maybe you’re conformed to the world, rather than being transformed from the inside-out.
  • Or…just maybe…you have never been saved in the first place.

QUESTION: What do you think about the following statement: Humble people serve other people, while proud people wait to be served.”

* Image credit: CreationSwap via Jeremy Binns

Reader Interactions


    • Hello Pastor,
      Firstli want to comend you on your work and on your ability on rightly being able to divide the word of truth. That is a rare gift these days!
      I know this is a different forum, but i have an unrelated question to ask. It has to do with an article written by you that i can not find, it is on the reqcuirements of the Pastor and a deacon.
      My question would be on the managing of the home. I am a young and new pastor in South Africa. And my question is.
      “What does it mean by managing your home?, if do what is expected of me in the home and marriage and everything, but my spouse is not of the same aproach and is also of different vission and agendas, then that creates such a bad disbalanace in the home. What am i to do? And does it mean I do not qualify?”