“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.” Romans 12:3
It has been almost nine years now since I have confessed my calling to preach. God has done some really amazing things in my life, especially in the last nine years. I am currently enrolled in school working on master’s degree. My last class was titled “Sports Ministry” and in my mind I knew that it was going to be a piece of cake. I have been doing sports ministry with a local high school for the last six years as well as a summer camp we have been working with, so I felt so confident going into this class it almost seem like I was cocky or overconfident.
Well my first test set me back a little because I really didn’t prepare like I should have. I soon figured out that for every test, part of the requirement was reading nine chapters of information first. So this class quickly became a challenge for me. Persevering through the challenge, the Lord helped me to sustain a B average through the end of the class. I had an issue with that because until that class I had a 4.0 and had it set in my mind that was going to be my final grade point average upon graduation.
Well long story short, I had a sixteen page final paper that I had to turn in and the night that it was due we had bad weather causing the blackouts for a few hours. In between one of the blackouts I was able to get on line and turn in my paper. My professor graded the paper and I discovered a low grade. Upon further research the system didn’t upload my entire paper, 4 pages were missing. I spoke with the instructor about it and my discovery was after the grades were submitted. Needless to say, the class that I expected to get an A for sure, ended up being a C+. I am extremely hurt.
God is very clear that we should be real with ourselves when making judgments about whom we are. Take David and Goliath for example, Goliath was overconfident because he was 10 ½ feet tall and his armor weighed 125 lbs among other things. We all know that he was defeated by the young shepherd boy David who had a sling shot and 5 rocks. As a result of his past, Goliath felt confident that no one could defeat him and he was wrong.
Here Paul is saying to us that we need to really humble ourselves and don’t get beside ourselves. When he uses the phrase sober judgment, it makes me think of what people must feel like the morning after an all night drinking spree. I have witnessed many people being brutally honest with themselves after a night of drinking and waking up to a serious migraine and being really hung over. Whenever you go into anything overconfident and you fail, it has the potential to kill your passion and desire to succeed. Before you go into anything being overconfident think about this: Before you attempt to beat the odds, make sure that you can survive the odds beating you.
This C+ is going to stick out like a soar thumb on my transcript but it will be a constant reminder not to get too beside myself. I have to stay humble in my approach with anything especially school. The grade has also re-ignited my hunger and passion to succeed, so I will not lose focus of my goal. So just like Jacob this grad will be the thorn in my side as a constant reminder to stay humble and hungry to succeed and not get lax and overconfident which would produce complacency.
If you have had a set back in your life, you may want to consult with God and see if it is your thorn in your side. Everything that happens in our lives happens for a reason. When we are facing any challenge in our lives we have to have the mindset of David and not Goliath. If you have had a set back, just know that it could be God’s way of getting your attention to help you get back on track, stay focused, and stay the course.
Jesse R. Watson Jr.