For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
We all struggle with it at some time in our lives, this disease known as pride. It’s not that we think we are the greatest on Earth, just in the room. No matter how well intentioned or level headed, at some point, our egos are going to need a vaccination.
The best of us are human, and from Adam downward we’ve wrestled it. The threat of it comes with any measure of success. The potential to think to highly of ourselves can be guarded against in four manageable ways.
The first is why I spent two paragraphs saying virtually the same thing. You must be aware of the potential of the problem. Once you accept that it’s a possibility, you’re on guard against the symptoms. That’s what the Apostle was talking about in the verse.
When we watch for signs of a prideful thought, feeling, or action, we’re practicing prevention. That’s what a vaccine is, you take it before you need it, not after. Evaluating our own attitude after a high period of success is vital to your health.
Second is by remembering that our gifts, skills, and talents are not self existent. Every thing we know how to do is a gift. If it’s a natural talent, it was God given. Skills are guided through our teachers, mentors, and experiences. Any gift that we have, was wrapped by someone else.
A third way is quite honestly through keeping in mind those times we didn’t succeed. Steve Jobs, a business visionary, didn’t learn how to be himself through his success. He learned it through expulsion from his own company, starting over, and swallowing his pride. It may leave a bad taste in our mouths, but like many health foods, it’s extremely good for you.
Fourth, and my personal favorite, is loving others. Relationships give you an appreciation of other’s skills, talents, and abilities. Loving people takes our focus off of us, and places it on those we care about.
Last night I had a wonderful experience. I was part of a meeting with a very creative group of individuals, void of any ego issues at all. Each one appreciated the others in the group, valued their viewpoint, and were flexible to change.
It was a reminder of what can be accomplished when pride is kept out of the room. To be successful is not the primary thing, to make a difference is. When we remember that, it reminds us that everyone can better this life. As long as we know this, we’re on our way to vaccinating against ego.