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Have a sober estimate of yourself and your doctrine

As we saw in the previous section, it is good to have a sober estimate of others. In this section, I want to point out that it is good to have a sober estimate of ourselves.

It’s really hard to evaluate oneself. We tend to either be overly optimistic or overly pessimistic. And we tend to swing from one extreme to another.

The apostle Paul must have spent time thinking about this because he came to an interesting conclusion. Here is what he said.

Rom 12:3 For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.

Paul says that we should have an accurate opinion of ourselves. That makes sense. But then, how do we accurately determine where we are? Well, here is the next clue.

Gal 6:3 For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.

So Paul is saying that we should not think we are something if we are nothing. Okay, that makes sense too. But are we nothing? Let’s look at 1 Cor 8:1-3 to find out.

1 Cor 8:1-3 Now concerning things sacrificed to idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies. If anyone supposes that he knows anything, he has not yet known as he ought to know; but if anyone loves God, he is known by Him.

Since "if anyone supposes that he knows anything, he has not yet known as he ought to know" therefore, the only thing that a wise man can do is to always understand that he knows nothing. This is because the moment he supposes that he knows something it shows that he has not yet known as he ought to know. Thus, the only way to know (as you ought to know) is to suppose that you do not know.

Thus, the way to keep yourself from being deceived is to always humbly acknowledge that you are nothing.

Now you might think that this is ridiculous. After all, surely you know something – some, teeny, weenie thing. Well, consider Jn 5:30.

Jn 5:30 By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.

Jesus, who is the truth, also acknowledged that He could do nothing but had to depend on God for every piece of knowledge required to make a judgment about anything.

If Jesus had such an attitude, isn’t it a good idea to not believe our own mind that tells us that we know so much, but instead realize that we know nothing, and that every good and useful thing that we do know is only because of the grace of God? Armed with such an attitude we can obey Mt 23:8.

Mt 23:8 "But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers."

When God does give us the gift of teaching it is important to remain humble, and to recognize that there is really only one Teacher, and that we are all brothers. The Holy Spirit will continue to teach others through us if we are humble and always give the glory to Him.

In the Old Testament, the two men who were blessed with supernatural knowledge were Joseph and Daniel. How interesting that both of them made very similar comments about their knowledge.

Gen 41:16 Joseph then answered Pharaoh, saying, "It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer."

Dan 2:30 "But as for me, this mystery has not been revealed to me for any wisdom residing in me more than in any other living man, but for the purpose of making the interpretation known to the king, and that you may understand the thoughts of your mind."

You know, the secret to knowledge is to know that you don’t know, and that you can never know, unless God opens your eyes. We all need to remember this.

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