When I was growing up, I had a friend at school that was a little bossy in the sense that she had a lot of rules for any game we played. She always set out the rules very clearly at the beginning and then would make sure everybody stuck to the rules during the game. It meant that there was minimal fighting because she acted as a referee and leader for our small little group. She did, however, have one rule that we all willingly agreed to: Nobody Act Big. This meant that even though she had the final say, she agreed to never laud it over us. We had the freedom at any time to remind her of this rule as she decided on our disagreements.
She has always been a picture of a good leader to me, taking the lead but having the appropriate humility. Of course, she was only quoting one line from a good saying with some excellent theological advice: Nobody act big. Nobody act small — everybody acts medium.
“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” (Romans 12:3)
Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; A stranger, and not your own lips. (Proverbs 27:2)
“Whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave.” (Matthew 20:26-27)
“Give preference to one another in honour.” (Romans 12:10)
“Through love serve one another.” (Galatians 5:13)
“Regard one another as more important than yourselves.” (Philippians 2:3)
All of these passages speak of having an appropriate “sober” view of yourself and an attitude of honour to others – acting medium means to love others.
Sober judgment to me would be to have a reasonable, balanced view of yourself that is levelheaded, with a proper appraisal of your abilities, talents, gifting, and character. It is to both value your strengths, and think clearly about your weaknesses or limitations. It is not acting big in your head.
Honouring others is not acting big in the world. Nobody likes someone who talks about themselves all the time or thinks that they are always right. An “I-told-you-so” is never popular; neither is a “know-it-all.”
Honouring others is about regarding others as important and valuable, capable of making a significant contribution to life, and worthy of the love of Christ. It is seeing people with the eyes of Jesus and valuing them as Jesus would.
Honour gives birth to respectful speech, letting others go first, delighting in the joy that other people receive without comparison or envy. Instead, honour celebrates others, cheers them on, encourages them. Honour asks: “How can I help you? What can I do for you?” Honour says: “Your needs are more important than mine, how can I best help you.”
Honour seeks to understand, asks questions, is patient. It appreciates differences, finds common ground, and accepts help.
The list goes on.
When you honour someone, you release them to trust you, bless you and serve you, encouraging them to stay true to God’s calling in their life and become the best person they can be.
- When we honour others, we honour God.
‘You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honour and power, for you created all things, and by your will, they were created and have their being.’ (Rev 4:11)
- God’s love and honour (giving value) to us, enables and empowers us to honour (give value) others.
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” (John 15:12)
“Our culture has confused the concepts of honour and respect. Honour is not merely a matter of showing respect because it is possible to respect a person without having love for that individual…..and honour is not possible without love. True biblical honour must originate from a heart of love.” – Rich Wilkerson
I believe having a sober judgement of yourself and the ability to honour others go hand in hand. How are you doing?
Lord, help me to examine my heart and my speech to ensure that I do not think more highly of myself than I ought, but to have a sober judgement of my person, character, strengths, abilities and talents. Help me to focus more on counting others as better than myself, looking for ways to serve and support them as I consciously choose to love others as you would love me. Help me to honour others because of the value You put on them and because I Honor You with my life. I know Lord, that as I honour others, you will bless me and care for me as I live out Your purpose and will for my life.