2 Corinthians 12:16
"So that no one thinks more of me than he sees and hears from me."
After Paul's discussion of the man (obviously himself), who was caught up into heaven and heard things beyond his ability to express, he makes this unusual statement. Paul desires that no one think more of him than he deserves. I find that statement and attitude odd because most of the time, we think more of ourselves than we should and assume everyone else should also.
My father had a memorable saying for just about every situation. After being with a person who obviously placed a high value on himself, my dad would say, "I wish I could buy him for what he is worth and sell him for what he thinks he is worth." I am embarrassed about the number of times in my life that could be said of my father's son.
In Romans 12:3 Paul addresses this issue, "For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned." He makes this statement after an appeal for believers not to be conformed to the world's way of thinking. Instead they should be transformed by the renewing of their mind so as to please God.
Have you realized God's thinking is the inverse of the world's? I have often said, instead of responding to a situation with my natural inclination I should go a full 180 degrees in the opposite direction. The easiest thing I do in life is please Roy. It doesn't take a lot of thought or effort. As a follower of Jesus Christ, my desire should be to please Him instead of myself. This transformation of my thinking has caused me to usually do the direct opposite of what is easiest for me. Paul's plea to us in Romans reminds me of Isaiah 55:8 where the LORD tells us His ways and thoughts are not like ours. Therefore, as a believer, I should not be surprised to learn my thoughts and ways must change.
Paul gives us additional insight into the difference between God's ways and the world's in verses 7-9. Can you imagine how easy it would have been for Paul to brag and boast about his experience in the third heaven? The Lord, knowing our tendency to do just that, gave Paul a"thorn in the flesh" a "messenger of Satan" to keep him from becoming conceited. Paul asked God to remove this "thorn," but the Lord's reply was "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." So Paul boasts in his weakness. In the world, who would ever boast of weakness? We do everything we can to hide our weaknesses, but God's ways are not our ways. It is weakness, acknowledging our inability, which displays His perfect power.
LORD Jesus, forgive me for thinking more highly of myself than I should. I want my thoughts and ways to be transformed to Yours. Holy Spirit, please make my natural inclination the same as my Father's. Teach me that as His son it is not my strength but His. May I be like His Son who accepted His will even to the point of apparent weakness by His death on the cross.