July 27 – Measuring One Another

July 27 – Measuring One Another

2 Corinthians 10:12

“Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.” (1 Corinthians 10:12)

Some Christians use the means of grace more diligently than others and we have a tendency to evaluate each other. Although in a passive sense all believers may be equally “yielded” to the will of God, the Christian life is nevertheless a war, and some are more aggressive and seem to have more of a will to fight. Though faith must rest, relying on God to do what we cannot do, it also must wrestle, struggling in warfare. Satan is the great adversary and destroyer, constantly seeking to immobilize, if he cannot destroy, God’s people. Furthermore, Christians live in a world that is opposed to all they yearn to be. Some seem more aware of these adversaries and more persistent in opposing them.

In a sense, failure to do battle aggressively could be considered a spiritual flaw needing correction. At the same time this difference among Christians may simply be another sign of different levels of maturity. One should, in these matters, deal stringently with oneself and generously in judgment of the other person – both of which responses are the opposite of our natural inclinations!

In the first place, I am not responsible to judge my brother (Romans 14:3-12); furthermore, I cannot do so very accurately, even for myself, let alone for others (1 Corinthians 4:4). I don’t know my own motives; how can I know someone else’s? Another reason for caution in making such judgments is that the differences may be more apparent than real. What is the standard of comparison?

One must have God’s perspective in order to make a proper evaluation, and who among us has that? Therefore, we are fools if we compare ourselves among ourselves (1 Cor. 10:12), for we can never have God’s full perspective. If we must make a comparison, we should compare ourselves with our model, the Lord Jesus. On the other hand, it is proper to compare ourselves either with what we once were or with what we would be, apart from the grace of God. Comparisons along these lines give God the credit and bring us closer to His perspective.

To compare ourselves with others is foolish for several others reasons. In the first place, each begins his or her growth from a different level of unlikeness to God. For this reason a non-Christian gentleman with a good early environment may be a much nicer person to be around than some veteran Christian who is actually Spirit-filled. The question is, however, what that veteran Christian would be if God had not been at work and the non-Christian gentleman could have been had God been in control. In the second place, each normal Christian is at a different stage of growth, though all are in a covenant relationship of full acceptance of the authority of the Spirit in their lives. To compare one another is to have the wrong basis of comparison. In the third place, the data for making an accurate judgment are available only to God. We are therefore wise to leave these judgments to Him, especially when we do not have a responsibility for the spiritual development of the other person.

Certainly we all seek to bring honor to our God by putting His glorious character on display in mortal flesh. And the good news is, we can! What glorious good news! No matter what may or may not have occurred in the past and no matter how inadequate my understanding, if my relationship to God is one of unconditional surrender and confident expectation that He will keep His word, I can experience a life of consistent victory over temptation and growth toward His own likeness, I can see His purpose for my ministry supernaturally fulfilled, and above all, I can daily experience loving companionship with my Savior.[58]

[58] Taken from Five Views of Sanctification by Melvin E. Dieter, Anthony A. Hoekema, Stanley M. Horton, J. Robertson McQuilkin, and John F. Walvoord. Copyright © 1987 by Zondervan. Used by permission of HarperCollins Christian Publishing. www.harpercollinschristian.com

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