Biblical Illuminations
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Empty Conceit - Being Preoccupied With Myself

Posted by Douglas Twitchell on Feb 12, 2006
A while back I was visiting my parents, and as we were sitting at their diningroom table visiting, my father said, "Look at that bird out there by your car!"
I looked out the window, and there was a bird, perched on the windowsill of my passenger-side front door. But where he was, that wasn't half so interesting as what he was doing.

The bird was very studiously examining itself in the side-view mirror! I chuckled a bit, and then turned back to the conversation. About five minutes later, my father said, "You know, that bird is still there!"

Sure enough, the bird hadn't budged from that spot, but was still preening in front of the mirror.

I immediately thought of Philippians 2:3, which speaks about behaving based on 'selfishness and empty conceit'. Selfishness, of course, is when we are seeking personal gain. But empty conceit is something altogether different (although it is still based in selfishness). It is when we act based on an exalted view of ourselves and our own importance.

What does empty conceit cause us to do? It causes us to gaze endlessly at our own self, admiring who we are, and generally being impressed with ourselves.

But what does Paul say? Get your attention off yourself! You're not the most important being in the universe! In fact, you should consider each of the people around you as more important than yourself.

This mentality is at the root of Christian character. Paul says "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ..." and then he goes on to describe how Jesus put aside his own self, making himself "nothing" for us.

Can we, then, follow His example, and instead of gazing endlessly in our own reflection, take our eyes off our own selves, to see those around us? I don't know about you, but I don't want to go through life gazing endlessly into my own reflection, when there are so much more important things to do...

Where to Go from Here...

Read more: Pride, Selfishness
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