• Chris Steele

The Estimation of Ourselves

Be Strong, Be Well — Wednesday, May 20

Paul had to point out to his brethren, the Jews, the sad news that they were no different from the Gentiles. Oh, they boasted of being better. They thought of themselves as superior to those uncircumcised heathens. After all, they were God’s chosen people for nearly two thousand years. What could be better than being a descendant of Abraham? (Read Jesus’ response to this reasoning in John 8 beginning with verse 33).

In answer to this, Paul wrote, “What then? Are we better than they? Not at all. For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin. As it is written: "There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:9-11, 23).

What is our estimation of ourselves? How high is it? If we ever compared ourselves with anyone else, do we come away the winner in our own eyes? Paul said comparing ourselves among are selves is unwise (2 Corinthians 10:11ff). If we have even a vague inkling of being better than someone else, think again. We are nothing on our own. We all are in the same boat—sinful creatures and condemned. The only way to change this, is through Jesus Christ. This is true for everyone.

We may appear to be good when we compare ourselves to other people, because we can always find those who are much more wicked than we are. Does that make us feel good about ourselves? From God's perspective, we all appear as the sinners we are! Honesty, with an understanding of God’s word, tells us very quickly, no one can be “good enough” on their own.

Long ago, Isaiah expressed it this way. “But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away” (Isaiah 64:6). 

No man can measure up to God's righteousness. But with a humble spirit, and seeking the mercy and forgiveness of God in obedience, Jesus Christ makes up what is lacking in us. This should humble us, rather than make us proud--thinking we are above anyone else.

The very idea of an eternal destination of torment and suffering, compels us to think about others more than ourselves. If, the “Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9), we should feel the same way. Instead of looking down on folks, we need bend down and help them up. Help them to find our Savior and theirs. —Chris

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