Then Job answered the Lord: ‘I am unworthy—how can I reply to you? I put my hand over my mouth. I spoke once, but I have no answer—twice, but I will say no more.’
Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm: ‘Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’” (Job 40:1-7 NIV)
Professional tennis player Serena Williams is almost universally viewed as the best women’s player of all time. She has won 23 Grand Slam titles during her amazing career. She is, in one word, dominant. But if she were to compete against the likes of men’s players Roger Federer or Novak Djokovic, she wouldn’t stand a chance. Indeed, her greatness is relative. Against women players, she has no equal, but against the men she would rate as just an average tennis player.
I call it the fact of relativity. Depending on to whom one compares one’s self, we can all reach the conclusion we are better, stronger, or smarter than someone else. Job and his so-called ‘friends’ were having such an exchange. They argued about wisdom, sin, and righteousness and each, at several junctures, seem to make convincing arguments. But then the Lord speaks and, suddenly, things are put into their proper perspective. Who are these men who think they speak for God or dare to offer their opinions of how He should conduct Himself? You can almost feel the awe as the One and Only steps into the picture and removes all doubt to their folly. Their arrogance is quickly replaced by humility. Who do they think they are?
I can almost imagine God listening in on some of our discussions in person or on social media where we opine on things upon which we believe we have great knowledge or wisdom. It is our human tendency to puff ourselves up and compare ourselves to those around us. We become full of pride in our perceived position. But it’s always relative. We are wise, smart, good compared to whom? What if the Lord would to insert Himself into our conversations? What would become of our view of ourselves or of our opinions?
In this world, there will always be people who are considered great or consider themselves great, but the truth is that view is relative. Compared to what? is the question we should always be asking ourselves. By doing so, we can keep things in their proper perspective and avoid one day being humiliated. Serena Williams doesn’t compete against the top men of her sport because she knows better. It would be humiliating. We would be wise to apply the same principle of relativity to our lives when we are tempted by pride and arrogance. If we compare ourselves to God, there will be no chance of that happening.
Today, when you are tempted to think highly of yourself, remember the fact of relativity to keep your pride in check. Imagine the Lord presenting Himself and questioning you. That should do the trick.
© Jim Musser 2017