Paul reminds the church at Rome that he is an apostle (“For I say, through the grace given to me…”) and, therefore, speaks with authority and Divine appointment. He then goes on to instruct the believers not to think more “highly” of themselves than they ought to.

This is more than just a warning against the subtlety of pride and selfishness. Yes, it is that; but when linked with the rest of verse 3, it takes on even more meaning.

First, we are told to “think sober­ly“.This refers back to the preceding verse, 12:2: “And do not be con­formed to this world , but be trans­formed by the renewing of your minds.” To think soberly (v.3) with a renewed mind (v.2) is to think with a clear mind.

The Greek word used in verse 3 is sophroneo. This word means “to be of sound {whole, unimpaired) mind or judgment, sane, self-controlled, serious, moderate, restrained, disciplined, able to reason.” It comes from two Greek root-words:  sozo  (“to save” or “saved”) and phren (“the mind”).

The Holy Spirit is teaching us here that a redeemed believer is NOT to think  1) with self-conceit, that he is better than others in the Body of Christ; or 2) with self­- abasement, that he is less valuable than others in the Body of Christ. BOTH ways of thinking are equally unsound and unscriptural.

Rather, we are to think with a transformed mind characterized by true humility and gratitude to God.

B. Why Humility And Gratitude?

Humility is best defined as being exactly what you are; no more and no less. We should be grateful, because both the gifts and their proper and effective operation come from God through the power of the Holy Spirit. Truly, we are only earthly vessels- yet vessels of importance because of the priceless treasure we contain! (2 Cor 4:7).

We could never acquire or obtain God’s gifts by our own efforts or cleverness. And, no mat­ter how much we desire them, we cannot have gifts other than those God has given to us. By walking in humility and gratitude, we become more balanced and more useable in the Master’s hands.

The basis for our transformed, sober, dear thinking is that each of us has been given a “measure of faith”.

Avoid Self-Deception

Competitive behavior among believers, especially leaders, usually comes from a lack of sober thinking. When we allow pride – or insecurity -to guide our thinking, we become susceptible  to deception and sin.

Any person can be tempted to covet another person’s gift, or to be insecure about his or her own gifts. Only constant vigilance over our hearts (Prov 4:23) -and regular times of examination and cleansing by the Holy Spirit -can keep us from falling victim to the self­- deception of pride on the one hand, or false modesty on the other.

 C. What Is A “Measure Of Faith”?

Let us define “measure of faith” -what it is and what it is not:

  1. This “measure of faith” is NOT “saving faith” (the kind of faith that is concerned with our salvation). No person can be “more saved” than You are either saved, or you are not. The presence of a gift, or its use, does NOT mean  that one person  has more saving faith than another.
  2. This “measure of faith” is NOT an amount of faith, Faith is not divided into pieces by God and handed out in larger or smaller amounts to different people. It is also NOT about trying to become more “spiritual” so you can have a larger amount of faith, or more gifts.
  3. This “measure of faith” IS that type of faith that is best suited for the operation of each particular gift in its area of In other words, someone who has the gift of giving needs the type of faith that will release him to give liberally, without holding back. A teacher needs the type of faith that will enable him to boldly stand before others and rightly present the truth.Father God has made each of us in a certain way, with certain gifts. He has also given us the type of faith needed to best use our gifts.

    D. Thinking Soberly

With that in mind, the exhortation regarding sober thinking takes on even greater impact.