Conceit is defined as “excessive appreciation of one's own worth or virtue.” We all know someone who thinks more highly of themselves than they ought. You may know a few. These people are out of touch with the reality of who they actually are. If they are a 5, they think they are a 10, even though everyone who loves them may see them as a 7. It is this fanciful idea of self-worth that causes them to say and do things that are ridiculously self-serving. I think the first vision of a conceited person that pops into our mind is the stereotypical cheerleader or model who seems to think they are God’s gift to the world, apparently based on their looks. Obviously every cheerleader and model is not conceited. After all, I am handsome enough to be a top tier model, and I am not conceited. Wait… was I just conceited?
Conceit is often born when we seek to find our true value in something other than what God has done for us. It is easy for a model or cheerleader to become conceited because they spend so much time in front of a mirror, and are in a market where their looks are the key element for a competitive edge. But conceit is not only found among those who make their bacon by their physical image. Conceit is alive and well anywhere people are trying to push their way to the top. You will find conceit in the business realm, sports field, political community, and even in families.
Conceit is a form of pride, and there are a few areas where prides rears its ugly head. There are 5 general areas of life that will give rise to conceit:
· Pride of Face – Some people become conceited because they are, or think they are more physically attractive than others
· Pride of Race – Some people think they are better than they are because they believe their race is better than other races.
· Pride of Lace – Some people have an excessive appreciation of their own worth because they have more material wealth than others.
· Pride of Place – Some people think they are better because of where they are from. Usually these are Yankees. We Southerners are much too genteel to engage in pride. (See what I did there?!?) This one can also happen based on one’s place in culture due to education, etc.
· Pride of Grace – Some people actually think they have more worth because of their relationship with God. This happens between religions, and also between denominations. This one is certainly strange, but pervasive.
There are obviously other areas of life where you will find conceit. But they don’t end with ‘ace’, so I didn’t use them. But conceit is not a good trait. We know that about others, but do we know about it in ourselves. The apostle Paul, when explaining what love is and is not said this, “Love is not conceited.” (1 Corinthians 13:4) Later on in the passage, Paul says love is greater than faith and hope in the whole scheme of things. But love is not conceited? Love is the greatest. So there is no reason to excessively appreciate it. Love is already the top.
We need to understand that in God’s value system, we can’t be more than we are. So when we try to value ourselves as more than we are, we come off looking worse than we are. Conceit has no place in your life because your worth cannot be any higher. Chances are, people love you as a 3 as if you were a 13. But when you exhibit yourself as a 13 when you are a 10, you come across as a 3. If you struggle with self-worth, know that you are loved by the people in your life. That love, if it is real makes up for any lack in your life. When you feel like a 3, and they tell you that you are a 10 to them, it isn’t an inflated view. It is what love says, and love is not conceited.
Today, have a proper estimation of yourself. Do not be conceited, and treat with compassion the one who is conceited, as Christ does.
Find more of David’s work at Heart Of Ministry.