Who regards you as superior? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?
–1 Corinthians 4:7
Suppose you had a child who was very arrogant–she was filled with pride over her appearance or her scholastic or athletic accomplishments. How would you deal with an arrogant child? Or let’s say you had a child who was self-centered–he thought the whole world revolved around him. What would you do about that?
A good parent would try to correct the problem before the child went out into the world on their own. Paul felt that way about his spiritual children in Corinth. He saw their arrogance and self-centeredness, and he wanted to deal with his children in a positive way. How did he teach them the truth? This week, we will study two ways Paul instructed his spiritual children–two ways we ought to employ when we try to instruct our children and grandchildren in the way of the Lord.
First of all, Paul trained his children through his words. You have to speak the truth to your children. And in 1 Corinthians 4:7, Paul offered this word to the arrogant: “Who regards you as superior? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?” Let’s break down these three questions you can ask anybody who is filled with pride or arrogance.
- “Who regards you as superior?” In other words, how many people are really in your fan club? Who thinks you are such a big deal? I am reminded of the pastor who was feeling pretty good after a sermon he preached. As he was driving home with his wife, he asked, “Honey, how many truly great preachers do you think there are in America today?” She said, “One less than you think.” That is what Paul was saying. Your fan club is not nearly as big as you might think it is.
- “What do you have that you did not receive?” Are you filled with pride over your appearance? Your portfolio? Your accomplishments? Now consider this: What do you have that was not a gift to you, either from other people or from God? When you think about it, every good thing we have in life ultimately can be traced back to the grace and goodness of God. He is the giver of all good gifts–even the ability to draw breath.
- “Why do you boast as if you had not received it?” If everything is a gift from God or other people, what do you have to boast about? That was Paul’s word to the arrogant.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Building a Legacy That Lasts” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2010.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.