What is the Purpose of Conceit?

So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. (2 Corinthians 12:7 ESV)

Humility is a gift where God helps you and me stay grounded. We never want to be drunk with conceit because we will eventually stagger in our walk, thinking too highly of ourselves and less of others. Even worse is that we might even think less of God. Our independence fuels unbelief with each success we experience, an irresistible lure that convinces us that our strength and will are all that we need. The illusion of prosperity and wealth convinces us that we don’t need God.

Little do we know that a small crisis is all that it takes to break our confidence and spin us into a frenzy of worry, despair, and heartache. The unexpected adversity reminds us how fragile we really are both physically and spiritually, forcing us to look up and pray for help. We are not invincible and we don’t have it all together. No matter how much we think we know, God tells us that there is still much more to learn.

Jesus said, “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 14:11). Therefore, I would rather consider myself a fool and learn something new than think that I am wise and be put to shame for my ignorance.

We are all the same in the Lord’s eyes anyway. So what is the purpose of conceit other than causing division between people, and between people and God? “For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust”(Psalm 103:14). If we believe that we are destined for heaven, then why struggle to gain an advantage over someone else? There is nothing wrong with healthy competition because it encourages innovation. But to be conceited and think less of a fellow human being just isn’t right.

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