If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else. (Gal 6:3-4 NIV)
Whoever doesn’t think too highly of himself will not do as if he is something special either. He will not be opposed on this and will remain unafflicted and at peace. Yet whoever thinks highly of himself, will achieve the opposite. He will either continue arrogant and haughty in his own ways or he will be convinced to change his ways and get done from his high horse. Test yourself and your actions! Test them in the light of God’s commands and regulations. Evaluate them from the divine and godly perspective of his most holy law. That will elucidate your shortcomings and failures so that your pride will be dented if not reduced to size. That is why such critical self-evaluation in the light of God’s word is so vital for sanctification and holy living. You should not compare yourself so much with other people, but rather measure yourself according to God’s most holy and perfect will. This divine perfection which is personified in Jesus Christ the Lord is the proper benchmark and standard for Christian living. That reduces all human self-esteem to nothing and makes us entirely dependent on God’s gracious forgiveness and mercy. There is no reason whatsoever to become proud or self-conceited, nor is there any cause for envy or hatred either. In the light of God’s law we recognize our own poverty and lowliness. There is no room for proud self-conceit or -aggrandizement, just humility and keeping down with the lowly.
Alas, my God, my sins are great, My conscience must upbraid me; And now I find that in my strait No human power can aid me.
But curb my heart, forgive me still, Oh, make my patience firmer; For they ignore your kindly will Who at your chastenings murmur.
All that you do is for my best; Your grace will help me bear it If but at last I see your rest And with my Savior share it. (Johann Major 1613 tr Chatherine Winkworth, 1863)
This is a rather free translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for Thursday after the fifteenth Sunday after the high holiday and festival of the Holy Trinity. It is found on Pg. 324 in Lob sei Dir ewig, o Jesu! (Eternal Praise to you o Jesus!) edited by A. Schuster and published in the Freimund Verlag, Neuendettelsau 1949.