Listen to today’s devo!

All the sinners among my people will die by the sword, all those who say, “Disaster will not overtake or meet us.” (Amos 9:10)

When asked what sin he struggled with the most, Billy Graham once replied, “Pride. It’s hard to be humble when everyone keeps saying how great you are.” This echoes the sentiment of the fourth-century theologian Evagrius Ponticus. Evagrius taught that the last sin to overcome is often pride, because the more Christians overcome other sins, the more they are tempted to take pride in their holiness.

The Israelites’ pride in their relationship with God was blinding them to their sin. They nodded in agreement as Amos declared judgment on heathen nations (see Amos 1; 5:18). But they were shocked when Amos declared God’s judgement on them. Sinners among God’s people? How can that be? The Israelites were certain God was with them (see Amos 5:14).

Just as the Israelites proudly considered themselves more righteous than other nations, we can easily consider ourselves more righteous than the Israelites. However, Jesus repeated Amos’ warning to us in Matthew 7:22–23, “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”

Comparing our good deeds to others will always lead to pride. By comparing ourselves to God, we gain a humble and accurate perspective.

Turn from pride by focusing on God’s holiness.

Tamar Eisenmann and her husband are Wesleyan pastors from Michigan. She’s a Wesley Seminary doctoral student and a fan of Transformers, her kids, and Jesus.

© 2022 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission. Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.