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It is not just the conceited soul’s conceited opinion of itself that keeps it from contentment and the majesty of calmness, but it is also its accompanying contemptuous opinion of others. Once we put self on a pedestal, we will inadvertently look down upon others. As a result, we will find ourselves envious of their position and covetous of their possessions.

The conceited soul is always envious of the position of others. Being convinced that it is most deserving of success and station in life, the conceited soul is envious of the success and status of others. It is forever attempting to lift itself up and to tear others down. It is a virtuoso of sour notes blown on its own horn and a connoisseur of sour grapes that serve as its daily fare.

The conceited soul is also constantly covetous of the possessions of others. Being convinced that it is most deserving of wealth and opulence, the conceited soul is always covetous of the prosperity of others. It believes itself to be the victim of divine disservice whenever it is found living on the wrong side of the tracks and having trouble making ends meet. Persuaded that it should live in a mansion rather than a cottage and wear velvet and silk rather than burlap and polyester, the conceited soul is always covetous of bigger houses and better clothes.

The envious and covetous are always offended when Christ does something for others that He is not doing for them. When John the Baptist heard of the miracles Christ was working for others, he couldn’t help but wonder why Christ had not come and miraculously delivered him from his deep, dark and damp dungeon cell. As a result, the Baptist was offended by Him whose sandals he admittedly was unworthy to lace (Luke 7:18-23). Had John not faithfully served as Christ’s forerunner? Had he not faithfully fulfilled his God-given mission of preparing the way for Christ to come and begin His public ministry? Yet, there was no miracle for the Baptist, who felt forsaken and forgotten amidst the swirling reports of Christ’s miraculous ministry to others.

Have you ever been offended at Jesus for doing something for others that He has never done for you, for blessing them in a way that you have never been blessed, or for exalting them to a position far above your present station in life? If so, such offensiveness toward Christ on your part serves as incontrovertible evidence of a conceited opinion of yourself and a contemptuous opinion of others, as well as proof positive of the presence of the twin vices of envy and covetousness in your life. What hope is there of ever quieting and calming such a disquieted and discontented soul? Such an inconsolable soul unknowingly condemns itself to a life sentence in the deep, dark dungeon of discontent.

To calm the soul one must be unoffended by Christ’s blessing of others and neither envious of the blessed or covetous of their blessings.

Don Walton