“Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight.” Isaiah 5:21
Conceit is one of those sins that, if you’re smart––which is not the same as “wise”––you can disguise it with a humble looking demeanor. I learned early on to do that and have become quite adept at the ruse. It’s only when I’m tuned in to the Spirit, whenever I think of myself as better than others, I immediately feel his displeasure. If you don’t struggle with conceit you can be proud of your superior spirituality to mine.
Especially in these times of great tension over religion, politics, race, sexuality, social justice, and any number of other issues, we should all make an appointment with Dr. God to get tested and treated for conceit.
Spoiler Alert: Though both the test and the treatment are invasive and painful it should be done routinely. It’s not a one-time deal!
Why can’t we seem to disagree agreeably these days? Conceit is the reason. I’d like to blame Facebook and Twitter for this, but social media just gave us a platform to vent our true conceited selves. The kinds of things we say to each other in cyberspace should appall us all. It most certainly is appalling to “the Father, from whom the whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name” (Ephesians 3:14). It’s not our disagreements that grieve him, but the rancor with which we communicate them and the disrespect that we show each other.
It’s a slippery slope that deposits us into a diseased cesspool of meanness. Watch this…
I can’t believe everyone doesn’t agree with everything I say. (Conceit)
They’re obviously a bunch of idiots. (Conceit on steroids)
If they were smart, they’d stay out of my way because I’m packin’! (Nuclear-powered, ‘roid-rage conceit)
The conceit disease begins in the heart, is passed around in families, is encouraged in political, social, and religious ideologies, spreads through leaders (like politicians and even pastors), and sickens nations whose citizens have taken the bait to think of themselves as superior to everyone else. In their eyes, their race, their class, their ideology is clearly exceptional.
National pride, an admirable quality in itself; yet when you stir in conceit, it morphs into nationalism, which is one of those toxic “isms.” Race, socioeconomic status, and religious distinctions all have their “isms.” They all can be traced back to pride run amok, and before it costs lives, must be avoided at all cost.
The usual words for sinful pride in the New Testament mean, “to appear above” and to be “wrapped in smoke” or “puffed up” (as in bigger than they actually are). Arrogant people view themselves as higher and bigger than everybody else, while in reality they’re just a puff of smoke.
OK, so I share these thoughts in hopes that you’ll feel as bad about being conceited as I do. I’m tired of feeling this way all by myself!
For your reading pleasure (and for the Spirit’s conviction) check out the following New Testament passages:
Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Romans 12:16
To keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 2 Corinthians 12:7
Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Galatians 5:26
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves. Philippians 2:3
He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. 1 Timothy 3:6
Some are treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. 2 Timothy 3:4
They are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, and evil suspicions. 1 Timothy 6:4
Lord, help us be more and more like you!