Pride is a many-headed monster. It shows itself in all sorts of guises including conceit, which starts from false ideas about ourselves - believing that we are cleverer, more attractive, wiser, more knowledgeable and generally morally better than we really are. Conceit lifts us up and pushes others down; it gives us a desire to taunt others about their inferiority, at the same time as we secretly envy what they do and who they are.
Church-goers whose security is not rooted in Christ are a liability to the gospel and a disgrace to the Name of Christ. They rely on their own good works or their superior wisdom instead of the grace of God. They believe that they can be good enough for God by themselves. They are deluded: but they are also liable to stimulate a cascade of competitive self-righteousness which leaves others disillusioned (when they fail in their attempts) and defaces the message of salvation.
That kind of pride easily hides away in most believers, just waiting for an opportunity to prove that they are better than others, while feeling a little uncomfortable that the claim may be hollow. We need this verse to see that the faults we point out in others are in us as well; and are potentially very destructive. This is not the fruit of the Spirit, but the evidence of our sinful nature. Let us repent of it, recognising that we have formed habits which perpetuate the problem without us even having to think about it. We need to form godly habits, especially in the way we think about ourselves and others. Philippians 2:3 says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves”. Let’s practise that today!
© Dr Paul Adams