Ok, I’m feeling convicted here (again). How about you? Has anyone ever said you’re conceited? Vain? Proud? Selfish? Cocky?
Let’s be real: a degree of self-confidence is a good, God-given gift. God gives each of us talents. To some, He gives many talents; to some, few. Yet all are gifts from Him. When we develop our talents and abilities, it’s a good, healthy thing to be confident in them; to be confident that we can ‘walk the walk AND talk the talk.’ It’s not necessarily a bad or sinful thing to realize the extent to which one’s God-given talents can give one an advantage in life. Dizzy Dean, the baseball legend, once said, “it ain’t bragging if you can do it.” That’s true.
And it’s equally true that there’s thin line between being confident and being conceited. That line becomes noticeable when we begin to consider that our abilities make us better than others. When we realize that advantage our talents can give us, and then exploit it, we’re venturing into conceit. “I’m good and I know it.” Was Muhammed Ali conceited or honest when he proclaimed himself to be “the greatest?” Opinions will differ.
What isn’t different is the common knowledge that, in any crowd, the conceited are an ugly lot. Sure, they may be beautiful in appearance, stylish, trendy, popular. Or they may be intellectual and brilliant. When you’ve ‘got it’ and you know it, and you want others to know it too, you’re conceited. I don’t want to be around folks like that; do you? They wouldn’t want to be around us, either. The real question is, “are we them?” Are you or I conceited?
According to Paul, the conceited provoke and induce envy. Admit it: that’s true, too. It’s because sin is sin. It’s poisonous to any of us, and it brings out the worst in us whether we’re dressed in furs or cheap polyester. When we act conceited, we provoke anger in others and ourselves. That makes it, and us, even uglier.
The better way? That’d be the way of Christ, whose walk with us was humble yet confident, full of love while living through poverty. Christ invested in people, vesting them with love and forgiveness, grace and mercy. He displayed those behaviors so that we, too, might follow suit. Go ye and do the same.
That’s something to be proud of. It’s ok to boast in Jesus, to be thankful and, yes, proud, that He leads our lives. It’s something to be content with and thankful for. And, then, to share the way He would: without conceit.
For further reading: Philippians 2:3, Galatians 6:1
Father, forgive me when I am conceited. Break my pride, humble me, forgive me, and set me on Your better path.
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