(Romans 12:3-6 ESV)
Are you still dealing with the sin of pride? Maybe you think you are the only one, or maybe you foolishly think you've got that one mastered, but every believer will struggle with this detestable sin to his final breath.
Even the distinguished apostle Paul was given a "thorn in the flesh" (see 2 Corinthians 12) to keep him from swelling with pride because he had seen what no other man had been privileged to see. In Paul's weakness, a default setting to boast, God graciously gave Paul a "positive weakness" so that the apostle would be humbled and forced to depend totally on Christ's strength. Paul understood the dangers of pride, so he was able to write: "But he [God] said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Corinthians 12:9-10 ESV).
In commenting on the Romans 12 passage listed above, Matthew Henry wrote:
"Pride is a sin that is bred in the bone of us all, and we have therefore each of us to be cautioned and armed against it."
“Had we the monopoly of the Spirit, or a patent to be sole proprietors of spiritual gifts, there might be some pretence for this conceitedness of ourselves; but others have their share as well as we. God is a common Father, and Christ a common root, to all the saints, who all derive virtue from him; and therefore it ill becomes us to lift up ourselves, and to despise others, as if we only were the people in favour with heaven, and wisdom should die with us.”
I love Henry's dry sense of humor here. Are we the only ones who have been shown favor from heaven? Will wisdom die with us? The Church will either cease to exist or falter greatly when we go six feet under, right? No, God, the source of all wisdom, grace, and power, has distributed gifts to all the saints according to His discretion. We are not the only ones to be given what it takes to honor Him and proclaim His greatness.
So as we deal with the deep-seated sin of pride, let's thank God for thorns in the flesh, exhausting days when we literally fall into bed with half of our to-do list still unchecked, and unanswered questions that leave us scratching our head. It is then that we begin to remember that God is God and we're just dirt.
May we also thank God for a brother or sister in Christ who has been gifted in ways we have not, who can come along side of us and administer the grace he or she has received from the Giver of every good and perfect gift.