To have sound judgment…
From the Greek this means to think with a sound mind, to think soberly. It is to recognize that in and of ourselves, on our own strength, by our own morality and intellect, we can do nothing that advances the kingdom of God. We can only be effectively used to the glory of God by the Spirit of God, bestowed on every Christian at the new birth. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, (Eph. 2:10).
Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s, (1 Cor. 6:19-20).
Pride is the essential attitude of a fallen human race. Sin always involves pride. Somehow we think we have a right to go against our God and Creator. The very statement, “I’ll do it my way”, so popular in culture, shows how the unsaved truly live: “My way, not God’s.”
But, as MacArthur points out, it is not to be so with God’s children. “To be useful to our Lord, we must honestly recognize our limits as fallen men and women as well as our abilities as new creations in Christ, keeping both in proper perspective.”
The great reformer, John Calvin, wrote on this: “For so blindly do we all rush in the direction of self-love that everyone thinks he has a good reason for exalting himself and despising all others in comparison…There is no other remedy than to pluck up by the roots those most noxious pests, self-love and love of victory. This the doctrine of Scripture does. For it teaches us to remember that the endowments which God has bestowed on us are not our own, but His free gifts, and that those who plume themselves upon them betray their ingratitude,” (Institutes of the Christian Religion).
Says John MacArthur: “No matter how well grounded we may be in God’s Word, how theologically sound we may be, or how vigorously we may seek to serve Him, our gifts will not operate so that our lives will be spiritually productive until self is set aside.” (Commentary, vol. 2, p. 157).
During New Testament times some churches were characterized by members desiring the more public or showy gifts, such as prophecy, teaching, and tongues, to the exclusion of others. The Corinthian church was a chief offender. But Paul admonished that we should desire a more excellent way, the way of humble love, (1 Cor. 12:31; cf. 13;1-13).
In the third epistle of John, vs. 9, the apostle identifies a man named Diotrephes, who loves to be first. Unfortunately this speaks of many across our churches who want attention and relish the spotlight. The spotlight should be reserved for One only, the Lord Jesus Christ!
The world we live in looks down on humility as weakness. Self-glory, to them, is strength, and meekness and generosity are for the “losers.” Faithless, selfish living “is…characterized by brash, and even exalted, self-centeredness, ego building, pampering the body, and striving to fulfill every personal lust and ambition, with little regard to who may be harmed. It is small wonder that depression and emotional chaos are so prevalent.” (Mac vol. 2, p. 159).
Professor William K. Kilpatrick, in his book, Psychological Seduction, the Failure of Modern Psychology, writes: “Extreme forms of mental illness are always extreme forms of self-absorption….The distinctive quality, the thing that literally sets paranoid people apart is hyper-self-consciousness. And the thing they prize most about themselves is autonomy. Their constant fear is that someone else is interfering with their will or trying to direct their lives.”
The great Christian writer, Augustine, wrote The City of God. In it he says this: “Two cities have been formed by two loves; the earthly by the love of self even to the contempt of God, the heavenly by the love of God even to the contempt of self. The former, in a word, glories in itself, the latter in the Lord.”
John the Baptist, upon hearing of the success of Jesus’ ministry, said, He must increase, but I must decrease. (John 3:30). He was saying that his ministry was decreasing in size and importance, but Christ’s was growing. John humbly and gladly accepted that. For believers, on the throne of our hearts, ego and self must decrease as our recognition of Jesus’ rule and authority over every facet of our lives increases. Paul said, I die daily. A big part of that was dying to self and becoming increasingly alive to Christ. This is growing and it is essential to sanctification and maturity in the faith.
The writer of Hebrews said this: Let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more, as you see the day drawing near, (Heb. 10:24-25)
…. So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at
the right time he will lift you up in honor. … (1 Peter 5:6).
Until next time God’s praise and blessing be upon all!…mike.