ODJ: measuring ourselves

November 19, 2013 

READ: Romans 12:3-5 

Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us (v.3).

We have a tendency to overestimate ourselves and inflate our positive qualities. Recently researchers asked nearly a million secondary school pupils to assess their leadership skills. Seventy percent rated themselves as above average, while only 2 percent rated their leadership skills below average. In another study, 94 percent of university professors rated their work above average. Psychologists call this the “illusionary superiority” effect—where we think we’re better than we really are.

This flawed self-assessment is nothing new. The apostle Paul warned the believers in Rome about this ‘above average fallacy’ long ago. He began by reminding them of his apostolic authority, laying a foundation for instruction he wanted them to accept and apply (Romans 12:3). He reminded them that God had granted each of them spiritual gifts and that they were to use them to be a blessing to others in the body of Christ (vv.4-5). And so that they didn’t simply assume that they were worthy of these gifts, Paul warned them that the “illusionary superiority” effect could disrupt the unity of the body as they exercised their spiritual gifts.

Instead, the Roman believers were to strive to have a well balanced evaluation of themselves. Then they would be able to use their gifts for the benefit of one another as they served side by side, functioning interdependently (v.5).

As living sacrifices, we’re to preserve the unity of the body of Christ by rejecting an attitude of pride or status and accepting a realistic view of ourselves. This will renew the realisation that the gifts we’ve received have come from God, and it will inspire us to use them to be a blessing to others. — Marvin Williams

Read Philippians 2:3-8 and note how Jesus’ example should guide our view of ourselves and our relationship with other believers.  
Why do we tend to compare ourselves with others and have a flawed self-assessment? Why is it important not to compare ourselves with other believers in the body of Christ?