Lord, it is so easy to feel superior. What a temptation! I rarely recognize the feeling as one of superiority, but it is. I see others and silently say, "If he had faith, he would not struggle. If she loved God, she would not waiver. If he had a prayer life, he would be stronger. If she spent time studying the Bible, her doubts would disappear."

Then, in the security of my self-confidence, I rejoice in the strength of my faith and the depth of my love. I smile when I consider my prayer life and my knowledge of Your word. I reassure myself by thinking of the many things I do for you.

Later, as I reflect on these times, an ugly awareness stares at me. I see the Pharisee who felt spiritually superior because he was not like the wicked tax collector.

Who am I to measure the faith or the love of another person? Is knowledge of Your word measured by the ability to dissect verses or by clinging to the message? Are the notable ways to serve Christ restricted to my list of godly works? Am I to forget that You were thrilled when a widow gave a penny? Or that You note the cup of cold water given in Jesus' name?

My dark days descended on me. Desperate illness struck my family, and one that I loved died. Injustices destroyed my career. My dreams for my children turned into ashes. Neither time nor money permit me to serve You in the ways that I did.

Each day I know struggle and weakness. Evil mocks my strength. I wavier because my faith was in me, not You. And I am afraid as I learn to trust You instead of me. Suddenly, my Bible knowledge became "book knowledge." In that moment I understood the difference between having Bible knowledge and laying a foundation upon the Rock.

Troubles easily become despair, and despair easily becomes hopelessness. What a temptation! Father, help me find courage in the cross! Help me find confidence in the resurrection! Help me find hope in Your forgiveness! Help me find assurance in Jesus' return!

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 22 February 1998

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