Monday, July 23, 2018

Humility Conquers Self-Conceit


The Folly Of Being Conceited

“Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits” (Romans 12:16 KJV).

Naturally, we all have a high thinking of ourselves, and due to our competitive nature as humans, we consider that others are simply not better than us (Genesis 4:2-5). Often, and in a show of superiority, our actions and attitude become vile to subdue the humble brother or sister so that we may stand out as better in the eyes of man, but God will not overlook our display of superiority for “… God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble” (James 4:6). Equally, uneven relationships exists in our human society today because of our exercise of power and authority. While this might not be entirely evil (Romans 13:1-7), our manner of exercising such authority must be respectful with a sense of brotherly kindness considering that we too are under the Lord's authority (Ephesians 6:9). By this preceding verse, the Bible have literally done away with forceful and demanding conduct, which existed in the old nature (Ephesians 4:22-24). Being conceited is part of human nature, the old nature, this is evident even in children although they might not appreciate the effect it has on others. As it is, we witness daily how some children want to have better things than others, or even bullying others to enjoy the status of superiority.

Therefore, this spirit of ‘betterness’ or conceit gets transferred well into our adulthood. This is a natural fact, ‘betterness’ is a hidden evil in all of us and we don’t want others to be better than us (Genesis 4:8). It is a very sad indictment that among Christians these power games continues to play out without regard for the dignity and respect of the humble brother or sister. In our association with brethren across all walks of life, we have witnessed how some brethren acted in a brutal display of superiority in bringing their points across. O' how unpleasant and peace less is an environment in the presence of such a loveless person! Humility is not an option for such a person(s) his or her status must be considered. When you hear or see others being treated with no respect, the spirit of conceit and controlling is behind it. In Christ, however, as we learn about the Lord and His unselfish nature (1 John 3:16; Romans 3:25), we grow conscious of our mistaken perceptions and mannerism, but not all of us mature in obedience. It is good that we recognise the spirit of conceit and the effect it creates in our relationships with others, the bible encourages us to associate with people of low position, not to be controlling and be demanding but to promote love and brotherly kindness.

Shameful Christian Behaviour of Conceit

Some time ago, we painfully had to listen to a friend in the Lord who recalled to us how he and his family had to endure every kind of abuse from a couple who joined their ministry and because this couple supported the family’s ministry, they were ruthless in their treatment of the lowly family.

After we had counseled the family prayerfully and an enquired of the Lord, He revealed to us that the couple was not humble servants and their worldly status and possessions blinded them that is why they disrespect and treat others shamefully. The Lord is warning Christians not to be demanding when dealing with their fellow brethren, but being patient and kind (1 Corinthians 13:4). As I am trying to explain below, this blindness or concealed conceit is a mannerism that bonded as a personality trait since childhood stages. I can tell you; some people use their status and achievement as a defense mechanism to elevate their status and to humiliate others.

Again, and with permission, sometime ago a friend Andre (not real name) shared with me how he resigned from the company he worked for. He described how embarrassing it was for him to face his colleagues after he was involved in a heated exchange of words with someone on the telephone. Andre, being a Christian, could not face the humiliation as a result of ‘losing it’ so he resigned. He recalled that the guilt of his actions bothered him for weeks as he pleaded with the Lord to take away his guilt (1 Chronicles 21:8). Being familiar with his sincerity in Christ, Andre suffered in silence the consequences of his actions, and unashamedly he said that he regretted talking down to the man he had an exchanged with. Often our words expose our hearts condition (Matthew 12:34), and if we are wise to recognize and admit our folly, there is hope to reflect and reform our ways (Proverbs 28:13).

Subsequently, while Andre lost his confidence and Christian testimony as a result of that incident, he did not give up on his faith. Being unashamed of his experience he encouraged me to share it with the hope that it might minister into the life of someone.

From experience, I have noticed that conceitedness is one hidden hindrance in many Christian’s life. Whether knowingly or unknowingly we habitually often measures the educational or social status of others against ours to determine how we may relate to them. As a result, this may lead us to subconsciously treat others less favorable, but granting better treatment and manners towards those who displays a social class higher or equal to ours (James 2:2-4).

Furthermore, the Apostle James says, not only have we ‘become judges with evil thoughts’ (James 2:4) our actions explicitly testify that we think we are better than the less favorable brother or sister. This is the unfortunate attitude of many Christians who’s abundance blinded them to the basic treatment of others (Romans 12:16), and they think this is pleasing to the Lord (Luke 18:12). There are not many Christians who can discern this hidden sin in their lives and some, when they are corrected, without humbly engaging in retrospection, they verbally attack the mindful brother or sister to ward off the correction.


Consequences of Being Conceited

Brethren, this is serious! From the experience of my brother Andre (above) and having witnessed the things he had to suffer as a result of his conceitedness and shameful treatment of others, he learned humility. Let us not think that we will get away without punishment from God when we hurt and humiliate others because we think we are better than others (Exodus 22:21-23).

Let us consider a few examples of conceited people from the Bible. The Lord Jesus related a parable of a conceited man, a Pharisee who boasted about the things he had and did in his prayer but this resulted in his prayer being rejected by God (Luke 18: 10-14). When conceited, wealthy, powerful and arrogant Haman thought he could unjustly oppress humble Mordecai without consequences; God turned the evil he intended to harm Mordecai with against himself (Esther 3:3; 6:6; 7:9-10). Furthermore, King Nebuchadnezzar was warned by the Prophet Daniel to show kindness to the oppressed and renounce his wickedness and conceitedness and be spared consequences; he stubbornly persisted he was humiliated (Daniel 4:27-33). Also, when King Jehoram, King of Judah grew powerful, he became conceited, and this led him to sin, and this led to his downfall (2 Chronicles 21:1-20).

Finally, please take the time to answer these few questions to reflect if you have a conceited spirit. If you are honest, this could result in your deliverance and keep hindrances from your prayers. You will also experience a greater peace from God upon your life. Are you in the habit of controlling others because of what you give to them? Are you doing things for others only to tell them what you did for them? Are you in the habit of talking down to others? Do you have a demanding spirit? Do you talk about things you do for others? And are you reactive and defensive? Do you always expect credit for things you do for others? (Luke 17:10). By honestly reflecting on these few questions and looking into our souls, we will see our mistakes, and at the same time, we will guard against the deceitfulness of this hidden demon, conceitedness.

As always, we would like to extend an invitation to anyone who does not know the Lord Jesus Christ yet, or of you are not born again, to pray our suggested prayer on this link Prayer of Sincere Repentance by faith and follow the Lord (Matthew 4:19). You may also contact us for any questions or comments about this article or our ministry.

Blessed Love

Brother Glenn