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What the Bible says about Conceit
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Proverbs 21:4

Some Bibles' margins may read that "plowing" can also be rendered "lamp" or "light." A light gives guidance. This verse says that, as plowing prepares the way for the earth's production, so pride prepares the way for producing other sins. Another way of looking at it is that pride is the guide that leads the way to other sins.

The "haughty look" indicates a comparison. It occurs on a person's face when he is looking down on another, showing an attitude of superiority. It illustrates comparison because perverse comparison is at the heart of this sin, pride. A person with this problem is greatly hindered from knowing God because he does not make the right comparison between God and himself.

We must perceive God as so high above us He is beyond comparison. God Himself says, "To who then will you liken Me, or to whom shall I be equal?" (Isaiah 40:25). He challenges us to make a comparison, and we can come up with nothing adequate.

He is so holy, so righteous, so pure, so intelligent, so great, so awesome, so powerful—so much of everything—that man is in far over his head when he tries to compare anything or anyone to God. Humans are only made in His image. Who knows which is greater: the difference between us and our reflection in a mirror or the difference between God and us? We know that our reflected image is not us and does not even begin to compare with what we are.

Men and women are only in the image of God. But the proud exalt themselves against God, which hinders their relationships with God. A man's perspective of God ultimately determines his perspective of men, including himself.

The dictionary defines pride as "an undue sense of one's own superiority, importance, or worth." It is "inordinate self-esteem," a word in vogue in pop psychology today. They say everybody needs self-esteem. Well, pride is an inordinate self-esteem, and its synonyms are conceit, vanity, and vainglory. Its antonyms are humility and modesty.

Consider these comparisons between words: Pride manifests itself in disdain, haughtiness, and arrogance toward others. Self-esteem gives more deference to one's opinions than others grant. Conceit is an exaggerated opinion of one's ability or worth. Vanity is an excessive desire for admiration and praise, and vainglory is undue boasting about one's accomplishments. But pride encompasses all of them.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Faith (Part Six)

Proverbs 23:19-21

A lack of self-control is commonly shown in lust, greed, gluttony, alcoholism, conceit, sexual sins, gossiping, violent quarreling, and false and reckless speech, and many other sins that Satan can tempt us to commit if we allow him.

Martin G. Collins
Self-Control

Revelation 3:17

How close this is in principle to what the Pharisee says in the Parable of the Pharisee and the Publican (Luke 18:9-14)! Oblivious to his spiritual poverty, the Pharisee chooses to compare himself to humans he can see rather than the holy God to whom he supposedly prays in faith. Notice also his conceit in listing his wonderful works of tithing and fasting!

Though the Laodicean is indifferent, lackadaisical, and inconsistent in his devotion to God, his ignorance of his spiritual condition reveals a fundamental flaw that undergirds his lukewarm condition and paralyzes his spiritual life. The Laodicean says he is rich, but Christ's revelation shatters that delusion. He completely misreads his spiritual condition! He thinks he is already complete, thus he is indifferent to growing and changing. So great is his conceit that it blinds him into saying he needs nothing!

This self-deception results in inconsistency in prayer and Bible Study and nonchalance in overcoming. Why do those exercises when he has no need? His relationship to Jesus Christ is distant and insipid. Would we want to be married to a person who could take us or leave us depending upon his momentary mood? No wonder Christ reacts so severely! The Laodicean's self-perceived "wealth" is a barrier to any meaningful relationship with Him (Proverbs 18:11).

A Laodicean is poor—really and truly poor—yet all the while thinking himself to be rich. He is unwilling to jettison anything, let alone everything in a whole-hearted search for God. Undoubtedly, he has knowledge about God and thinks this is the true religion, but it is plain that he does not know God. If he did, he would not be so blind to his poverty because he could compare himself to God's holiness, and his shortcomings would be exposed. He is intelligent, but he mistakes his intelligence for true wisdom. Christ may even have given him gifts for ministering to the church in some way, but he mistakenly judges them as grace toward salvation. He is blind yet has the light of God's truth in him—remember, this is written to converted people—but the light is turning to darkness. How great that darkness must be!

To be wretched describes life when everything one owns has been destroyed or plundered by war. Here it describes the Laodicean's spiritual destitution and pitiableness before God. He is being devastated in the spiritual war against Satan, even though to all outward appearances he may look well-clothed, well-fed, and vigorous in carrying out his daily, secular responsibilities.

How careful Christians must be in this time when the world and Satan are pressing their distractions upon us as never before! We cannot allow ourselves to be deluded into negligently or carelessly cheating ourselves out of so great salvation (Hebrews 2:1-3).

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Beatitudes, Part Two: Poor in Spirit


Find more Bible verses about Conceit:
Conceit {Nave's}
 




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