a timely word from scripture concerning arrogance and narcissism

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. Romans 12:3-5


Today’s Bible Gateway verse-of-the-day was Romans 12:1. However I have used that scripture recently so I read on and immediately thought about our faith community at Wake Forest Presbyterian Church.

Sunday morning we commissioned and sent out a mission team who are working with PDA (Presbyterian Disaster Assistance) in long-term hurricane relief efforts. Sixteen adults, working hard and putting their best skills to use in the service of God and others; it’s The Great Commission (Matthew 28) and The Great Commandment (Matthew 22) all in one.

And let me tell you, these folk have skills! Like the dozens of people who have been hammering and drilling and sewing and more to errect the set for Walk Through Bethlehem. Talk about a project that will end up using varied and different gifts! The three-day event takes the combined efforts of more than a third of our congregation. I may dress up in fancy clothes and play the part of wise Hebrew guide three nights in December, but there are literally two hundred fifty other examples of applied giftedness making that possible.

“We have a purpose,” the Amplified Bible says, “designed for service.”

A Proper Sense of Who We Are:


Then, also during 9:00 worship, the children’s choir stood up to lead in praise. These little ones demonstrated the gift of pure, uncluttered belief. Children don’t posture or self-promote, they simply are – confident in the understanding that they have memorized in “His Kids” worship: “We are God’s beloved children.”

We live in a culture where too many people misunderstand this foundational, essential truth. We are God’s beloved children, and that – not our own pride – is the source, uncompromised, of our purpose and hope and strength and sense of worth.

People who are inclined to, think too highly of themselves need to spend some time in the presence of these beautiful children. Or maybe hang out with this beautiful adult mission team. I will conclude this post with these other expressions from different translations of the text from Romans 12:

  • Exaggerated ideas about your own importance,
  • Thinking you are better than you really are,
  • Be honest in your estimate of yourselves,
  • Don’t hold a false sense of superiority
  • Be emptied of self-promotion
  • Do not hold a false image of your own importance…
writer Derek Maul lives and worships in Wake Forest, North Carolina

“For by the grace [of God] given to me I say to everyone of you not to think more highly of himself [and of his importance and ability] than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has apportioned to each a degree of faith [and a purpose designed for service]. For just as in one [physical] body we have many parts, and these parts do not all have the same function or special use.” (Amplified Bible)

In humility, and in joy – DEREK


  1. I believe those who appear narcissistic and arrogant are really operating from a deep hole of self doubt and insecurity . That being said, I also understand the havoc their actions can produce. I pray sincerely that their hearts will be touched and changed. A person who does not feel loved or know how to be loving is a very dangerous person.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are so right, Carolyn. Giving children this gift of knowing God’s love – personally and unconditionally – is one of the most sacred responsibilities we have. – Derek


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