For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
— Romans 12:3
When a person is a brand-new leader, he often mistakenly assumes that being a leader means he has to know it all. As a result, he puts himself under unnecessary stress, trying to project himself as one who knows everything. His need to appear as an “expert” at everything reveals an immature understanding of what true leadership is all about.
When a leader keeps everything in his own hands and doesn’t allow anyone else to do anything, this leads to frustration for the team members working with him. It is especially frustrating when there are people surrounding the leader who know the answers, who are experts in their fields, and who really could help. But they have to silently sit by and just watch the leader struggle as he tries to be “Mr. Super Leader,” never asking his team for help.
No one has all the answers! The smartest leaders in the world are those who realize both their gifts and their limitations. A leader is being wise when he recognizes his need for gifted, talented, willing-minded people to chip in and help him effectively do what he is called to do. No one can do it all alone.
If you will open your eyes and look around, you’ll find that God has graciously surrounded you with the very people you need. They are just waiting for your invitation to help you nurture your God-given dreams, visions, and projects and bring them to fulfillment.
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In Romans 12:3, Paul spoke about our need for others in our lives. He said, “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.”
If anyone could have thought highly of himself, it was Paul — and he would have been correct! He formerly had been a lawyer, politician, and Pharisee. No doubt he was also once very wealthy. Now Paul could claim that he had seen Jesus and had been taught by Him (Galatians 1:12). In regard to his own apostleship, he acknowledged that his apostleship to the Gentiles was “mighty” (Galatians 2:8). In fact, it was so mighty that when those who were appointed as apostles before Paul saw the great grace in his life, they extended to him the right hand of fellowship and invited him into their inner sanctum. In Second Peter 3:16, Peter writes that the profound nature of Paul’s revelation was so extraordinary that even he wrestled to comprehend it all.
Yet Paul is the one who admonishes us not to think too highly of ourselves but to learn to view ourselves “soberly.” The word “soberly” is the Greek word sophroneo, and it means to be of sound mind; to be reasonable; to be balanced and levelheaded in the way one thinks; to maintain a proper appraisal, measurement, or value; to think clearly about one’s limitations. In other words, we are not to pretend to be more than we are!
Although Paul stood in a class by himself and could boast of unprecedented accomplishments, he recognized his need for other members of the team. That’s why he leaned so heavily on Timothy, Titus, Luke, Barnabas, Silas, Sosthenes, and others. The understanding of his own limitations is the reason Paul could rejoice that others were on his team. Thus, he could write with no sense of being threatened by someone else, “I planted, but Apollos watered….” Apollos contributed a part that Paul would never have brought into the project. Paul was a dynamic planter, but Apollos was an excellent nurturer. Paul needed all his team members to bring his job to maturity.
Of course, you need to recognize your own God-given abilities and use them. God wants you to develop your gifts and use your talents to become the very best you can be. But when you come to the edge of your limitations, realize that it’s all right for you to say:
- “This is too much for me!”
- “This is a project that I’m not anointed to do!”
- “This demands gifts and talents that I don’t possess!”
- “This is a time for someone else to take the lead!”
- “This assignment is going to take teamwork, because I can’t do it by myself.”
God intended for you to be a part of a team! If you try to act like you can do everything on your own, you’re going to find it quite humiliating when you fail miserably in front of everyone.
Trying to tackle a huge project all by yourself is the surest way to end up embarrassed in front of others. When you fail and fall flat on your face, you’ll regret that you didn’t say, “I think someone else can do this job better than I can. This is simply not where I’m most gifted. Who can help me out with this project?”
So instead of thinking too highly of yourself and attempting to go it alone with every project you undertake, be smart! Develop a team mentality. Bring others into the project with you as the Lord leads. Recognize your limitations, and seek out those who have the gifts and talents you need. Rather than try to figure everything out by yourself, let the people around you contribute their thoughts, views, and insights. Let them use the talents and abilities God gave them. You can accomplish a whole lot more as a team than you can do by yourself.
The next time you set out to accomplish a task God has assigned to you, remember — there are other members of the Body of Christ too! You’re not the only one who is called and has faith. God has gifted His entire Body with faith and spiritual gifts. Rather than trying to do it all by yourself, think “soberly.” Recognize your limitations, and allow other people to be used by God too!
My Prayer for Today
Lord, give me the grace to recognize both my abilities and limitations. Help me be unafraid to admit when I’ve overstepped my bounds and tried to tackle something bigger than my abilities. In those moments, please enable me to ask others to join the project and to help me do what I cannot accomplish by myself. I really need You to help me overcome my weaknesses and my fears that others may be better gifted than I am. I know You have placed people all around me to be blessings in my life, so today I am turning to You. Help me recognize these people and receive them as the blessings You intend for them to be.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for Today
I confess that I am part of a team as God intended for me to be! I don’t think too highly of myself, nor do I attempt to go it alone with every project I undertake. I have a team mentality. I recognize my limitations and seek out those who have the gifts and talents I need. Rather than try to figure out everything by myself, I let the people around me contribute their thoughts, views, and insights. I want them to use the talents and abilities God gave them, because we can do a whole lot more as a team than I can do by myself.
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Questions to Answer
1. Do you feel secure enough to say, “This project is too big for me; I need someone else to step in and help me”?
2. If you were really honest with yourself, would you have to confess that at times you’ve put a lot of pressure on yourself to do everything when there were others who could have pitched in and helped?
3. Are you the kind of person who includes others, or do you shut out other people, giving them no chance to contribute their gifts, talents, or ideas?