Have you ever made the connection between Romans 12:2 and 12:3? It is somewhat unexpected.
v. 2 – “be transformed by the renewing of your mind (way of thinking)”
v. 3 – “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment” (Romans 12:3)
Spiritual transformation can only happen in a humble mind of sober judgment. The fist area of “thinking” in need of transformation is the way I see myself. Get the right perspective on you! How do you tend to “think of yourself”? What are your “self” thoughts? What messages about yourself do you send to yourself? What messages about yourself have you accepted from others (good or bad)? If you don’t get “you” right, you’ll derail the path of spiritual transformation. Consider the great emphasis on this throughout Scripture.
A few more verses for the right way to “think of yourself”
- Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil” (Proverbs 3:7).
- “If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves” (Galatians 6:3).
- “We serve God by his Spirit, boast in Christ Jesus, and put no confidence in the flesh” (Philippians 3:3).
- A church leader, “must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil” (I Timothy 3:6).
- “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:3-5).
- “So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty’” (Luke 17:10).
- “All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, ‘God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.’ Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time” (I Peter 5:5-6).
- “My heart is not proud, Lord, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me” (Psalm 131:1).
- “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked” (Psalm 84:10).
- He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven'” (Matthew 18:2-4).
- see: Luke 18:9-14
The book of Romans
In the context of Romans 12, the point of reference for how we see ourselves is found in the vigorous argument being made in the first 11 chapters of the book of Romans. It is summarized as our shared history in sin and redemption.
Romans 3:22-24 “There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”
Romans 11:32 “For God has bound everyone over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.”
It is in view of this great mercy of God (Romans 12:1), that the appeal of chapters 12-16 is built. (On this, see: Unity through the gospel)