It is quite possible to do all sorts of morally virtuous things when our hearts are filled with fear, with pride, or with a desire for power.
Soren Kierkegaard says it is the normal state of the human heart to try to build its identity around something besides God.
The ego often hurts. That is because it has something incredibly wrong with it. […] It is always drawing attention to itself– it does so every single day. It is always making us think about how we look and how we are treated.
[The ego] is incredibly busy doing two things in particular — comparing and boasting.
[The Corinthians] are unable to enjoy the fact they know Paul. The have to use their relationship with him for one-upmanship over each other in the church.
[Paul] will not even judge himself. It is as if he says, ‘I don’t care what you think – and I don’t care what I think. I have a very low opinion of your opinion of me – but I have a very low opinion of my opinion of me.’
His sins and his identity are not connected. He refuses to play that game. He does not see a sin and let it destroy his sense of identity. […] He sees all kinds of sins in himself – and all kinds of accomplishments, too – but he refuses to connect them with himself or his identity.
A person who is devastated by criticism is putting too much value on what people think.
What we are all looking for is an ultimate verdict that we are important and valuable.
Do you realize that it is only in the gospel of Jesus Christ that you get the verdict before the performance?
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