We have a dangerous tendency to think too highly of ourselves. That tendency is confirmed by the fact that the Bible warns us, in various places and ways, to guard against it. Romans 12:3 is just one example:
For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. (Romans 12:3)
I know my own heart. I know that I have no warrant for having an inflated view of myself, but amazingly, that doesn’t stop me from doing so. I like this prayer from Valley of Vision, primarily because it expresses a high view of God and a low view of man. The last few lines are especially pertinent to the subject of this post. It would probably be good for most of us to incorporate them into our own prayers once in a while.
O God Whose will conquers all,
There is no comfort in anything apart from enjoying thee
and being engaged in thy service;
thou art All in all, and all enjoyments are what to me thou makest them, and no more.
I am well pleased with thy will, whatever it is,
or should be in all respects,
And if thou bidst me to decide for myself in any affair,
I would choose to refer all to thee,
for thou art infinitely wise and cannot do amiss,
as I am in danger of doing.
I rejoice to think that all things are at thy disposal,
and it delights me to leave them there.
Then prayer turns wholly into praise,
and all I can do is to adore and bless thee.
What shall I give thee for all thy benefits?
I am in a strait betwixt two, knowing not
what to do;
I long to make some return, but have nothing to offer,
and can only rejoice that thou doest all,
that none in heaven or on earth shares thy honour;
I can of myself do nothing to glorify thy blessed name,
but I can through grace cheerfully surrender soul and body to thee,
I know that thou art the author and finisher of faith,
that the whole work of redemption is thine alone,
that every good work or thought found in me
is the effect of thy power and grace,
that they sole motive in working in me to will
and to do is for thy good pleasure.
O God, it is amazing that men can talk so much
about man’s creaturely power and goodness,
when, if thou didst not hold us back every
moment, we should be devils incarnate.
This, by bitter experience, thou hast taught me concerning myself.
– The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions, edited by Arthur Bennet