Devotional/Reflection: Have you ever asked someone else to give a truly honest opinion about what they think of you? Have you ever had someone give an anonymous survey about what they think of you? I remember reading some of my first teacher evaluations and seeing the ratings and comments from students. Let’s just say that my opinion of me and their opinion of me didn’t quite match up. Maybe you have had the same kind of experience. The reality is that we are probably our own worst judge; we tend to see the good, know the positive motives, and make excuses for the bad things, such that we perceive ourselves as much better than we are. At the root of our overly positive evaluations of ourselves is pride. But not only are we not the best judge of ourselves, but we also are not the best judge of others. Precisely because we cannot fully know motives in a person’s mind and heart, we cannot fully judge their actions. This is not to say that we ignore sin; rather, we are called to hold each other accountable by lovingly confronting visible sin, but we should not presume to know their heart nor pretend as though there is nothing in our own life needing correction (remember Matt 7 and the log in your own eye teaching?). The Corinthian church, however, was truly struggling with pride, and they were manifesting their pride in a number of ways. First, they were puffing themselves up on account of the person who led them to faith (v. 6; cf. 1:10-17; 3:4-9). Second, they were acting as if they already had everything they needed, that they were already mature (v. 7). Third, they take pride in their comforts while Paul is suffering (vv. 8-13), yet even Paul does not presume to be without fault. The reality Paul is trying to convey to the Corinthian church is that all of them, the prideful at Corinth, Paul himself, and all humanity, will give account before Christ. And when we stand before Christ, it is not our assessment of ourselves or other’s assessment of us that gets put into evidence–it is entirely upon the judge, and we are not he. God will be the judge, but the good news is that He has already given us the standard in Scripture by which we are to be judged, and He has provided the substitution, His Son, in our place that we might be judged by His righteousness and not our own. Consequently, we must cling to Christ, recognize that nothing we have is of our own doing, kill pride, be faithful to what God has entrusted to us, and always keep aware of our motives lest they shift off of Christ and onto us.
- In what areas of your life does pride manifest itself the most?
- What have you found effective in killing pride?
- Is there anything in your life that you are claiming as your own, thinking you have earned by your own power, or are boasting as though you had not received it?
- God has put some of us in charge or stewardship of more than others. What has God entrusted to you that you have been put in charge of? How well are you managing what God has entrusted you? How do you need to improve? What steps can you take this week in this direction?
Scripture Memory: “This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.”–1 Corinthians 4:1