Confidence vs. Conceit; June 7, 2017

1 Samuel 17:37 “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.”
Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you.”

The more we experience success, the more confidence we have. However, when that is based on our own performance, it becomes conceit. David’s brothers interpreted his confidence as conceit, (verse 28) but as comes out clearly here, his confidence was based not on what he could do, but on what God could do for and through him. That’s what makes this whole story of David and Goliath so worth telling, and not just to children in Sunday School. When God has taken you through difficult times it’s easier to trust Him with whatever lies ahead, regardless of how difficult it seems. There can be a fine line between assurance and presumption. The best protection against getting on the wrong side of that is a focus on God that recognizes I am nothing but God is everything.

This has been an issue for me most of my life. I have strayed onto the side of conceit more times that I like to think about! I have been gifted over a wide spectrum, to the point that focus has also been a major issue. I’m not very good at really working on a specific thing to bring it to perfection. My parents encouraged me in all my gifts, never telling me anything was beyond my ability but rather telling me to do my best and be careful. (They did forbid some things as either too dangerous or illegal!) All of that became a problem only when I became presumptive, failing to put in the effort, or when I focused on the ability itself and forgot the One who had given it to me. One of the scariest verses in the whole Bible to me is one that Jesus said: “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” (Luke 12:48) I feel I have been given a great deal, and am concerned that my stewardship has been much less than it might have been. This is actually a generational issue in my family. One time my parents were with my Grandmother Garrott and my father was talking about his struggles with conceit. His mother’s response was, “Well Max, there’s a difference between conceit and recognizing the truth.” My mother found that enormously amusing! The thing is, there’s truth in what my grandmother said. We fail to honor God when we don’t recognize the gifts and abilities He has given us. However, I must keep my focus on Him, or those gifts will ultimately be of no benefit to me.

Father, thank You for Your faithfulness. Every time I think about this subject I am more aware of the depth of Your grace. Help me have full assurance of You and what You can do, even through me, without descending into the stupidity of conceit. Help me remember that even David fell badly when he did that. May I be and do what You desire so that Your will may be done, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!


About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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