The Activity of Humility.

As a child, were you fascinated by small wonders like lightning bugs? G.K. Chesterton said, "What is wonderful about childhood is that anything in it was a wonder. It was not merely a world full of miracles; it was a miraculous world.”

As Christians, God has placed us in a miraculous world of wonder. He calls it Christ's body, the church. As we move into the practical portion of the book, Romans 12:3-8 gives us the first practical aspect of our salvation.

The Manner of Our Transformed Life in Community

The community in the context of Romans 12:3 is the local church. This paragraph will prescribe how we are to relate within the local church. The first key word of the passage is "grace." God helps us. If we try to do any of this in our own strength, we won't persevere for long. In contrast, just one Spirit-filled person influences many others.

We must live among other believers with a disposition of humility. This attribute is commanded in 1 Peter 5:5-6, James 4:6-10, Philippians 2:3-8, and many other passages. Christ is Light (1 John 1:5-7, John 1:1-5). When you are born again, His light is yours, and it demonstrates itself in your humility among God's people. God has given every believer a place to live out His grace as we serve our humble Savior.

The Measure of Our Transformed Life in Community

Artists use underpainting to show colors more brilliantly. When you examine such a painting, you find that each smaller stroke adds to the larger picture. Similarly, each Christian has a place given by God in the church. Without that place, whether large or small, the portrait is incomplete.

Romans 12:3b-5 becomes even more personal in application. "Measure of faith" indicates that God has given each believer a particular spiritual gift. God fitted us with a specialty when we were born again. Our mind is to be active when we consider our spiritual gifts. We must neither overestimate our gifting nor underestimate it, but think healthily. God created the body of Christ to have unity through many different measurements of gifting.

The most thorough treatment of the "one body" of the church is found in 1 Corinthians 12-14. Believers are humble if they serve the body by God's grace, and they are arrogant if they do not. Our influence affects the spiritual health of the body or hurts it. Christ looks at the church as His own body. Refusing to serve is theologically linked to the arrogance that put Christ on the cross.

The Method of Our Transformed Life in Community

In the church, all believers are given talent and equal opportunity to exercise our gifts (Romans 12:6-8). The source is still grace. We enjoy diversity as we each possess differing gifts. There is a particularity to each gift that Paul lists.

  • Prophecy – This gift was given to those who wrote the Bible which is now complete.
  • Service – This word could refer to a) the service of all believers, b) a specific gift of helps, or c) to appointed deacons. Most likely, this describes a particular gift for those who love to help the church.
  • Teaching – This gift is a special ability in "the art of making the unchanging divine message understandable to the unlearned."
  • Exhorting – This gift comes alongside the fainthearted and calls them to persevere.
  • Giving – This gift is to be practiced with "liberality," that is, a single-minded attitude with no strings attached.
  • Leading or Ruling – Those who lead the church must do so with diligence to keep the same attitude of humility as all believers (Hebrews 13:17, 1 Thessalonians 5:12-14, Titus 1:5-9, 1 Timothy 3:1-13).
  • Mercy – It is easy to become exhausted by opening your heart to hurting people. Believers with the gift of mercy must regularly be refreshed with God's Word.

It is important to practice your spiritual gift and not to long for another. All believers are to participate in all aspects of ministry, even while some of us are specialists in different areas. No matter what the gifting, it is equally grievous when any member doesn't practice their gift.

Be fascinated by what God's grace does in your local church! God honors those who serve in His strength; and by His grace, He gives them more responsibility.

Application Points

  • Don't underestimate your personal influence when you are living by God's strength and grace. Don't despise the day of small things (Zechariah 4:10).
  • God has placed His children into a miraculous world of wonder called Christ's body, the church. Are you amazed at what God's grace has done in yourself and others? Praising Him for causing you to shine in the church first, then out in the local community.
  • Evaluate your activity and disposition in the local church. What is God's grace doing in you and compelling you to do?
  • Do not overestimate your gifting or underestimate it, but think healthily. Every gift we have is not sourced in us, but in grace. The church cannot survive well without your influence!
  • There is a small percentage of Grace Church of Mentor that is not serving faithfully. Do you realize that your arrogance is hurting the body and Christ Himself? Repent and start obeying!

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore
  • 1 Peter 4:10-11 – All spiritual gifts fall into one of two categories.
A Hymn to Encourage: "To God Be the Glory"

To God be the glory, great things He has done;
So loved He the world that He gave us His Son,
Who yielded His life an atonement for sin,
And opened the life gate that all may go in.

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the earth hear His voice!
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the people rejoice!
O come to the Father, through Jesus the Son,
And give Him the glory, great things He has done.

O perfect redemption, the purchase of blood,
To every believer the promise of God;
The vilest offender who truly believes,
That moment from Jesus a pardon receives.

Great things He has taught us, great things He has done,
And great our rejoicing through Jesus the Son;
But purer, and higher, and greater will be
Our wonder, our transport, when Jesus we see.