Being Smug and Self-Righteous Comes Naturally

Being Smug and Self-Righteous Comes Naturally

It’s easy to be smug. Being self-righteous seems to be so easy and natural.

God is clear about the type of attitude He seeks; humility.

We live 24/7 in our own skin and who walks around thinking they aren’t right about most things? It takes incredible effort to even acknowledge we MAY not be right, we MAY not have the best answers, or we MAY not deserve something. However, God is clear about the type of attitude He seeks; humility.

Let’s hear from God word on this issue. And for those of you new to the Bible, Pharisee’s were priests and religious teachers considered by the Jewish people to be most righteous. Tax collectors on the other hand were considered no better than common thieves because as they collected taxes from their own people, they often collected more than was due for their own personal gain.

Luke 18:9-14, About Pharisee’s and Tax Collectors

For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted

9 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” (ESV)

God Wants Humble, Not Self-Righteous Followers

Summary of Luke 18:9-14: It’s better to be a humble sinner, than to think of yourself as better than anyone else. If you think highly of yourself and have a big ego, you will eventually be corrected and humbled by God. If you realize your actual situation is that of a sinner, unworthy of God’s approval through your own efforts, you will be exalted by God. If you recognize your own sinful nature and do not pretend to be better in God’s eyes (or any man’s eyes), you show yourself to be the type of person that God truly approves of.

King David in the Old Testament was “a man after God’s own heart”, even though he was a murderer and adulterer. Why? Because he recognized his sinful ways. He confessed openly to God about his own depravity.

My Confession

I too have been tempted to glorify myself and think I’m better than other people

Now, here is my own confession. I need to hear this over and over again. I too have been tempted to glorify myself and think I’m better than other people. This of course is not true. I am like everyone else; no better. The Holy Spirit has convicted me that maintaining a haughty attitude is a destructive path.

I seek God’s glory, not my own. I seek God’s approval, not the approval of men. Luke 18:9-14 is exactly what I need to hear. I need correction anytime I start to think of myself as better than others. I expect the Holy Spirit to correct me every time.

My Prayer

God, be merciful to me, a sinner! As I do your work, please help me to do it in your power and for your glory…not my own. Lord, increase my humility and shield me from the evil one. Father God, protect me from evil and selfish desires, and the sinful desires of my own ego. I confess I don’t always think as you think on these issues. God, renew my mind and help me to daily be more like Jesus Christ in my attitudes and behaviors.

I will trust in you alone God and humble myself so you don’t have to. I will put away my self-righteous attitude. God, I will seek your glory and approval, and reject the approval of men. Amen!

About Brad White

R. Brad White is the Founder and President of Changing the Face of Christianity Inc. Brad is a former atheist and became an "on fire for God" Christian in 2005. In 2008, Brad became incredibly burdened by what he perceived as a Christian faith far off course, and Christians far from living the teachings of Jesus Christ. In 2010, Brad submitted to the calling to reverse these negative Christian stereotypes, by starting "Changing the Face of Christianity" (a 501c3 Texas non-profit corporation). Read more about R. Brad White

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  1. Wade Trombatore says

    Complications complications We who are in Christ are a new creation. One not given to sin At least sinning is not to be the norm for us. And yet to humble ourselves it seems best to Yell with the Publican “God be Merciful to me a sinner!”. We; I say we are not to be given to the old nature. That is because Jesus Christ is to be Living through us. and He never sins. and Yet He is and was and will be The Humblest Man ever ( Without confessing that he is was or will be a sinner. But sure we tend to naturally live by the old nature. And can easily be in need of Saying “God Be merciful to me a sinner.”. Is that good or bad. We have died to sin and the sin nature Jesus said “I know Him and if I say I know Him Not then I would be a liar like you.” Was he talking of His born again saints today? “Let God be true and every man a Liar.”. –====== My conclusion is That when we find ourselves sinning. we are To yell “God be Merciful to me a sinner! Humbling our selves and repenting to Christ; we are to return. We are not to play games, saying “I will always be a sinner!” But then we are Not to be in denial —– === We are not to be Smug and self Righteous . We are to remember we Have no true Righteousness apart from Continually receiving it from God and so with all the virtues. We receive these as a Gift from God! Through Christ and the Holy Spirit.Nothing to brag about.====== LOVE is a gift from God and It can be rightfully humbling. Even to those Who are not sinning. “If not for the Grace of God There in go I” In a way Paul said That we are no better than the damned he had just talked about. Our Goodness is not of ourselves it is a Gift and Nothing in our nature or anything we own is from ourselves It all has been received in some way we have no bragging rights Yet we are to Rejoice and enjoy gloring in the LORD We are to glorify Him in all things ====We a sinner? Not in Christ.!!!! If we need we are to set our face Like a flint Straight ahead In Repentance. God bless

  2. Lisa says

    And whenever our society tries to change, too often Christians become self-righteous and less adaptive to change. They get too hung up on their beliefs thinking that anyone that is not Christians is sinful and bad. I’ve seen Christians like that. They always convince you that anyone who doesn’t share their beliefs are sinful and bad even when they may be not.

  3. Anonymous says

    I love you Lisa with agape Love Which I hope will grow in me for you and all for as long as it can grow till death or beyond. And I will say; I have been presumptuous in my past and I fear some in my future. Though I hope it be less and less. see (Psalm. 19) . I pray if you have been presumptuous that with me and the Saints Who want to Walk In Holiness That we all may be free From That blindness. And may rejoice in Christ’s Loving Perfection. —————-Yours in Christ With hope and Love : Wade Trombatore

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