I like and loathe myself simultaneously. Maybe you do too. One moment, I’m sipping coffee, surveying my life and measuring how much everyone enjoys my very existence on earth. Thinking about all the ways I Get It Right. The next moment, I’m in the darkness, tallying up how many times I’ve failed in the past seven minutes.
These are both marks of pride, which God abhors. Spending time hating yourself is still time spent on yourself. I love how Paul ends chapter 10:
“When people commend themselves, it doesn’t count for much. The important thing is for the Lord to commend them.”
A healthy amount of self-awareness is crucial to your walk with God. It’s great to take inventory of your heart and I think confidence and humility are the perfect cocktail towards godliness. But when we applaud ourselves, we are getting it wrong. I’ve noticed in my own life, when I commend myself for something, it’s because deep down I was just performing.
As Paul says, if you want to boast, boast about the gospel. There really is no other ground to stand on. Pretty proud of yourself for donating a large sum of money towards something? It is by God’s grace that you have the resources to give. It is by God’s grace that you earned that money, your body and mind capable enough to work hard at a job. Patting yourself on the back for all the things you sacrifice, the lifestyle you live? Don’t. If anyone could brag about a godly, sacrificial life, it would be Jesus, who gave up everything to be with us, and died on the cross so that we could be in relationship with him. And he tells us to remain humble. Again, don’t misread this: finding contentment in your identity is not prideful. I’m nearing 30 and starting to realize that it’s appropriate to know what you’re good at and own it. God gifts us with capabilities to be used! But beware of the growing sense of pride. That cheeky voice that praises you from within. Puts down other people. Exalts itself.
What strengths has God gifted you with?
What does it look like to exercise them?
How do you know when your pride has taken over?
Pause and answer these questions. If you’re stuck on them, ask someone who knows you well to help answer them. It’s important to familiarize yourself with your strengths and even more important to know how to remain humble within them.