To keep me from becoming conceited . . . there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. (2 Cor. 12:7)

JIM LOOKED FORWARD to the dedication of the new church building. He had played a key role in its construction and imagined he’d receive praise from the congregation. The morning of the celebration he suffered a minor stroke and was rushed to the hospital. Later, after his recovery, I spoke to him about the incident that kept him from attending the festivities. “I’m thankful for what happened,” he said. “If I had made it to the dedication I’m sure I would have taken pride in my service, instead of taking pride in what God had done and glorifying Him. I believe the stroke was God’s way of keeping me humble.”

Paul said God prevented him from becoming prideful by refusing to remove his “thorn in [the] flesh.” The apostle accepted God’s discipline, and boasted in the Lord’s grace and power that enabled him to minister through his affliction.

There’s nothing wrong with feeling good about a job well done. It’s when we glory in ourselves and our accomplishments instead of God that we indulge sinful pride. Christ is our example for humility. “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant” (Phil. 2:6–7).

May we always declare, “To God be the glory.”

Humbly ask God to reveal any sinful pride in your life. Repent and ask forgiveness.

Nancy Reinke lives in the Colorado Rockies with her artist husband. She enjoys writing, hiking, grandmothering, and encouraging others.