STUDY ARTICLE 27
Do Not Think More of Yourself Than Is Necessary
“I tell everyone there among you not to think more of himself than it is necessary to think, but to think so as to have a sound mind.”—ROM. 12:3.
SONG 130 Be Forgiving
1. According to Philippians 2:3, how does our having humility promote good relationships with others?
WE HUMBLY submit to Jehovah’s standards, realizing that Jehovah always knows what is best for us. (Eph. 4:22-24) Humility moves us to put Jehovah’s will above our own and to consider others superior to us. As a result, we enjoy good relationships with Jehovah and fellow believers.—Read Philippians 2:3.
2. What did the apostle Paul acknowledge, and what will we consider in this article?
2 If we are not careful, though, we could be influenced by people in Satan’s system who are proud and selfish.b Apparently, this was a danger to some in the first century C.E., for the apostle Paul wrote to the Romans: “I tell everyone there among you not to think more of himself than it is necessary to think, but to think so as to have a sound mind.” (Rom. 12:3) Paul acknowledged that we need to think something of ourselves. However, humility will help us to keep a balanced view of ourselves. This article will consider three areas in which humility will help us avoid thinking too much of ourselves. Those areas are (1) our marriage, (2) our privileges of service, and (3) our use of social media.
SHOW HUMILITY IN YOUR MARRIAGE
3. Why are conflicts likely to arise in marriage, and how do some react to those conflicts?
3 Jehovah created marriage to be a source of happiness for a husband and wife. No one is perfect, though, so conflicts are likely to happen. In fact, Paul wrote that those who marry can expect a measure of tribulation. (1 Cor. 7:28) Some find that they are constantly fighting with their spouse, and they may conclude that they were just not meant for each other. If they have been influenced by the world, they will be quick to think that divorce is the answer. They will feel that the most important thing is to be good to themselves.
4. What must we avoid?
4 We must avoid becoming dissatisfied with our marriage. We realize that the only Scriptural grounds for divorce is sexual immorality. (Matt. 5:32) So when faced with the tribulation that Paul wrote about, we would not want to let pride cause us to begin wondering: ‘Is this marriage fulfilling my needs? Am I getting the love I deserve? Would I find greater happiness with another person?’ Notice the focus on self in those questions. The wisdom of the world would tell you to follow your heart and do what makes you happy, even if that means ending your marriage. Godly wisdom says you should “look out not only for your own interests, but also for the interests of others.” (Phil. 2:4) Jehovah wants you to preserve your marriage, not to end it. (Matt. 19:6) He wants you to think of him first, not yourself.
5. According to Ephesians 5:33, how should a husband and a wife treat each other?
5 A husband and a wife should treat each other with love and respect. (Read Ephesians 5:33.) The Bible teaches us to focus on giving rather than on receiving. (Acts 20:35) What quality will help a married couple to show love and respect? The answer is humility. Husbands and wives who are humble will seek, not their own advantage, but “that of the other person.”—1 Cor. 10:24.
6. What do you learn from the comments made by Steven and Stephanie?
6 Humility has helped many Christian couples find greater happiness in their marriage. For example, a husband named Steven says: “If you are a team, you will work together, especially when there are problems. Instead of thinking ‘what is best for me?’ you will think ‘what is best for us?’” His wife, Stephanie, feels similarly. “Nobody wants to live with an opponent,” she says. “When a conflict arises, we identify the problem. We then pray, do research, and talk it out. We attack the problem, not each other.” Husbands and wives truly benefit when they do not think more of themselves than is necessary.
SERVE JEHOVAH WITH “ALL HUMILITY”
7. What attitude should a brother have when he receives a privilege of service?
7 We view it as a privilege to serve Jehovah in any way we can. (Ps. 27:4; 84:10) If a brother is able to make himself available for a special privilege of service, that is commendable. In fact, the Bible states: “If a man is reaching out to be an overseer, he is desirous of a fine work.” (1 Tim. 3:1) However, when he receives an assignment, he should not think more of himself than is necessary. (Luke 17:7-10) His goal should be to serve others humbly.—2 Cor. 12:15.
8. What do we learn from the examples of Diotrephes, Uzziah, and Absalom?
8 The Bible contains warning examples of people who thought too much of themselves. Diotrephes immodestly sought to have “the first place” in the congregation. (3 John 9) Uzziah proudly tried to perform a task that Jehovah had not assigned him to do. (2 Chron. 26:16-21) Absalom slyly tried to win the support of the public because he wanted to be king. (2 Sam. 15:2-6) As those Bible accounts clearly show, Jehovah is not pleased with people who seek their own glory. (Prov. 25:27) In time, pride and ambition lead only to disaster.—Prov. 16:18.
9. What example did Jesus set?
9 In contrast with those warning examples, consider Jesus, “who, although he was existing in God’s form, gave no consideration to a seizure, namely, that he should be equal to God.” (Phil. 2:6) Jesus, whose authority is second only to Jehovah’s, does not think more of himself than is necessary. He told his disciples: “The one who conducts himself as a lesser one among all of you is the one who is great.” (Luke 9:48) What a blessing it is to serve with pioneers, ministerial servants, elders, and circuit overseers, who imitate Jesus in displaying humility! Humble servants of Jehovah contribute to the loving spirit that identifies God’s organization.—John 13:35.
10. What should you do if you feel that problems in the congregation are not being handled properly?
10 What if it seems that there are problems in the congregation and you feel that they are not being dealt with properly? Rather than complain, you can show humility by supporting those taking the lead. (Heb. 13:17) To help you do that, ask yourself: ‘Are the problems that I see really so serious that they need to be corrected? Is this the right time to correct them? Is it my place to correct them? In all honesty, am I really trying to promote unity, or am I trying to promote myself?’
11. According to Ephesians 4:2, 3, what are the results when we serve Jehovah with humility?
11 Jehovah values humility more than ability and unity more than efficiency. Therefore, do your best to serve Jehovah with humility. In doing so, you will promote unity in the congregation. (Read Ephesians 4:2, 3.) Be active in the ministry. Look for ways to serve others by doing kind things for them. Be hospitable to all, including those who do not have positions of responsibility. (Matt. 6:1-4; Luke 14:12-14) As you humbly work with the congregation, others will notice not only your ability but also your humility.
SHOW HUMILITY WHEN USING SOCIAL MEDIA
12. Does the Bible encourage us to have friends? Explain.
12 Jehovah made us to enjoy pleasant association with friends and family members. (Ps. 133:1) Jesus had good friends. (John 15:15) The Bible describes the benefits of having true friends. (Prov. 17:17; 18:24) And it tells us that it is not good for us to isolate ourselves. (Prov. 18:1) Many feel that social media is a way to have a lot of friends and to avoid feeling isolated. However, we need to be cautious about using this method of communication.
13. Why are some who use social media prone to loneliness and depression?
13 Studies have found that people who spend a lot of time scrolling through social media postings might actually end up feeling lonely and depressed. Why? One possible reason is that people often post on social media photos that depict the highlights of their lives, showing selected images of themselves, their friends, and the exciting places they have been. A person who views those images might conclude that, by comparison, his or her own life is ordinary—even dull. “I started feeling discontent when I saw others having all this fun on the weekends and I was at home bored,” admits a 19-year-old Christian sister.
14. How can the Bible’s counsel at 1 Peter 3:8 help us with regard to the use of social media?
14 Of course, social media can be used for a good purpose—for example, to keep in touch with family and friends. Have you observed, though, that some of the material that people post on social media is designed to promote the people themselves? “Look at me” seems to be the message they want to convey. Some even post rude and obscene comments on their own photos or about the photos that others post. This too is contrary to the humility and fellow feeling that Christians are encouraged to cultivate.—Read 1 Peter 3:8.
15. How can the Bible help us to avoid promoting ourselves?
15 If you use social media, ask yourself: ‘Might the comments, photos, or videos that I post give others the impression that I am bragging? Could I make others feel jealous?’ The Bible says: “Everything in the world—the desire of the flesh and the desire of the eyes and the showy display of one’s means of life—does not originate with the Father, but originates with the world.” (1 John 2:16) One Bible version renders the phrase “showy display of one’s means of life” as “wanting to appear important.” Christians do not feel the need for promoting themselves. They follow the Bible’s admonition: “Let us not become egotistical, stirring up competition with one another, envying one another.” (Gal. 5:26) Humility will help us avoid getting caught up in the world’s spirit of self-promotion.
“THINK SO AS TO HAVE A SOUND MIND”
16. Why should we avoid pride?
16 We need to cultivate humility because those who are proud do not have “a sound mind.” (Rom. 12:3) Proud people are contentious and egotistical. Their thinking and actions often cause them to hurt themselves and others. Unless they change their way of thinking, their minds will be blinded and corrupted by Satan. (2 Cor. 4:4; 11:3) A humble person, on the other hand, has a sound mind. He has a balanced and reasonable view of himself, recognizing that in many ways others are superior to him. (Phil. 2:3) And he knows that “God opposes the haughty ones, but he gives undeserved kindness to the humble ones.” (1 Pet. 5:5) Those with a sound mind do not want to have Jehovah as an opponent.
17. What must we do to remain humble?
17 To remain humble, we must apply the Bible’s counsel to “strip off the old personality with its practices, and clothe [ourselves] with the new personality.” That takes hard work. We need to study Jesus’ example and try to imitate him as closely as possible. (Col. 3:9, 10; 1 Pet. 2:21) But it is worth the effort. As we cultivate humility, our family life will improve, we will promote unity in the congregation, and we will know how to avoid using social media in a negative way. Above all, we will have Jehovah’s blessing and favor.
SONG 117 The Quality of Goodness
a Today, we live in a world filled with proud, selfish people. We need to be careful that their attitude does not rub off on us. This article will consider three areas in which we should not think more of ourselves than is necessary.
b EXPRESSIONS EXPLAINED: A proud person tends to think too much of himself and not enough of others. Thus, a proud person is selfish. On the other hand, humility helps an individual to be unselfish. Humility is defined as freedom from pride or arrogance, being lowly in mind.
c PICTURE DESCRIPTION: An elder who has the ability to speak at a convention and to oversee other brothers also appreciates the privilege of taking the lead in the ministry and cleaning the Kingdom Hall.