Friday, June 26, 2015

CONFIDENCE or CONCEIT? A Fine Line

Article by Jonathan Hill

It’s a dangerous thing to think more of yourself than you ought.

You fail to see the world the way it really exists, because you have focused only on your little part of it.



This hyper self-focus makes it nearly impossible to love your neighbor.

You also fail to see yourself the way you really are and therefore minimize your shortcomings and maximize your intentions.
Do you tend to minimize your shortcomings and maximize your intentions? (tweet this)
It becomes difficult to let others in and take their assistance, because in your mind there is no need. You become like a lunatic who declares one reality but lives in another, shunning those who would assist.

Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. (Gal. 5:26-6:3)

The Apostle Paul warns the churches of Galatia to avoid this trend. He tells them not to be conceited (Gal. 5:26).

It’s worth noting that there is a difference between confidence and conceit.
Confidence is a pure and simple trust in your God given skills, talents or abilities. Conceit happens when you step across a line and start comparing yourself to others.

Conciet manifests itself in two ways.

One, you feel superior to others and in your mind you play a little game of compare and contrast with your life and the lives of others… of course you always win the comparison.

It affects the kind of folks you live and work around. Some folks are “beneath” you because of their social status, ethnicity, grooming habits, you name it... Paul calls this provoking. In your mind you are constantly pushing someone saying, “I’m better than you.”

The second way is when you feel inferior to others. In your mind you don’t have what they have (wealth, possessions, status, social ability, etc.) and you feel somehow that you should have it. This is what the Apostle Paul labels as envy.

Both issues flow from conceit and both make it hard to love your neighbor (Gal. 5:13).
The real problem with conceit is when it runs amuck in the body of Christ.

People no longer gather for fellowship and worship, but rather put on masks to cover over secret sins and give the illusion that everything is ok. They also gather then to gossip and share about the sins of others.

However, this passage illustrates that when we fight conceit in our hearts it does two things.

One it makes us approachable for discipline and able to seek help when we’ve fallen into sin. The reality of church discipline is that we may all need it from time to time. (granted real church discipline rarely ever does or should manifest itself as being kicked out of the church… that’s a very last resort. Church discipline is approaching a brother or sister about their sin, see Matt. 18:15-20.)

Second it makes us ready to approach others about their sin.

It’s a sad thing when conceit keeps us from being approachable about our lives. We feel as though we have to put on a mask of perfection while inwardly we struggle with real sin.
We feel as though we can’t share with anyone about our struggle because they are just like us….. they would judge us harshly for our sin.

Conceit also causes us to hurt our brothers and sisters in Christ rather than seeking reconciliation. It allows an attitude of superiority to creep in. We come across as arrogant and condemning rather than seeking the best for the person who has sinned.

The Apostle challenges the reader to restore those who have fallen into a sin. The word used here is a surgical word used of physicians setting broken bones.

The idea is that it may be a painfully awkward situation, but it is ultimately designed for healing.

There is hope now for the one who has fallen into sin and the ones restoring him/her.

For the one who has fallen, there is the witness of the body of Christ willing to help bear the burden.
For the one’s restoring, there is the opportunity to exercise the gifts and call of God in restoring such a one in a spirit of humility.
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This article submitted by guest blogger Jonathan Hill

Jonathan lives in Pensacola, FL where he writes and speaks about leadership in family and ministry. He is a husband, father, and committed follower of Christ. He has over eighteen years’ experience as a student pastor. He has been a guest speaker in a variety of settings including student camps, disciple now events, student and college retreats, family conferences, and revivals. You can find more of Jonathan’s devotional, theological and biographical writings by checking out his blog,
The Hill House.


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