Series: Followers of Jesus
Message: In the Church
Preacher: Japhet De Oliveira
Reflection: Mark Witas
Live Wonder: Jessyka Albert
Live Adventure: Jessyka Albert
Live Purpose: Kyle Smith
Editor: Becky De Oliveira
Refresh: Begin with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.
Read: Romans 12:1-21 in The Message (MSG). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: Paul writes, “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).
I had just finished speaking for a series at a church on the coast in central California and I was feeling pretty good about myself. For those of us who travel and speak a little, it’s always an ego boost because we bring the best sermons we’ve developed over the years and preach them in succession, giving the listening audience the illusion that we are way better at speaking than we probably are from week to week. Often, after these kinds of events, local church members want the guest speaker to be their new pastor! What they don’t realize is that after about six months of me, they’d figure out really quick that I’m just as much of a dope as their old pastor.
Anyhow, I had just finished speaking at this church and I was feeling like I was much more entitled to accolades that I really was. It was just before sunset and I was walking out on a busy peer in Santa Cruz when someone approached me. “Hey, I really like what you’ve done. Can I have your autograph!”
Naturally, I assumed that this was a person who had attended the speaking engagement that I had just finished. I was glad to offer my signature to the piece of paper they were handing me. Best Wishes, and God Bless. Signed, Mark Witas.
They took the paper and looked at it. Then their smile turned into a smirk. “I thought you were Ted Danson.” They wadded up the paper and threw it in a garbage can as they walked away.
You could have heard my ego deflate like a leaky party balloon.
Why do we get caught up in thinking more of ourselves than we should? It’s really the root of every horrible sin committed. I think it better to follow the advice of the Bible and strive to be humble. If we don’t, life will hand us a big heaping plate full of humble pie.
I suppose God can use arrogant people to do His work, but it would be a lot easier on us—and on Him—if we were humble and pliable people.
Recalibrate: Name a time when you thought too much of yourself. How did God use people or circumstances to bring you back to a true sense of who you are?
Respond: Give God permission to humble you when you need it. Then duck.
Research: Check out this article about confident vs. cocky.
Remember: “Love must be real. Hate what is evil; stick fast to what is good” (Romans 12:9, KNT).
Mark Witas is the lead pastor at Pacific Union College Church in Angwin, CA. Originally from the Pacific Northwest, Mark has served as a youth pastor, Bible teacher, college and academy chaplain, and lead pastor in the United States and Canada for the last 33 years. He has also authored four books: Born Chosen, Live Out Loud, Portals, and Just Jesus.
Have you ever compared your parenting to someone else’s? It can either make you feel really good or really bad about yourself. Maybe you’ve seen someone trying to keep their kid under control in a supermarket and you’ve silently judged them in your head. Or maybe you were the one with the misbehaving child at the supermarket and felt embarrassed as another parent with a quiet child glanced in your direction. When it comes to life in general—and even parenting—we are called to be humble. Try to think of the things you are really good at when it comes to parenting. Now think of the things you are not so good at. Take a moment and hand those challenges over to God. Ask Him for guidance and grace.
What is something that you are really good at? When we are good at something, we enjoy doing it a lot. If you are good at coloring, you probably color quite a few pictures. If you are good at a sport, you probably play that sport more often than any other sport. We like the things we are good at and sometimes we like to show off. It’s important not to be too proud and get a big head. It’s important to be humble. What do you think the word “humble” means? Today, try a hobby or sport that you might not be very good at. Do it not because you are the best and can show off, but because it is fun to do!
I love Apple. I have everything from the iPhone to the Macbook Pro. I am pretty spoiled—or maybe I just like to waste my money, as my wife says! When the new iPhone came out, I was among the first of my friends to get one. I didn’t do anything special to get it other than place the order, and when it arrived I went and picked it up. Later that day, I was with a group of people and someone said, “Is that the iPhone Xs Max?” I suddenly felt a sense of superiority toward people who had the “old” iPhone. That night, as I considered my inward thoughts, I realized that I didn’t like my attitude. Why did something as insignificant as a phone make me feel like I was better than others? Many of us have been told that what we have or what we do makes us who we are. We start to believe that our things and our accomplishments make us better than other people (or worse, as the case may be). What a sad lie! What are some things that cause you to think you are better than others? Have you ever thought you were better than someone else because of something you had? What are some areas of your life that Jesus needs to humble?