The conceited soul can never be calmed because it is never content with God’s daily provisions. The Bible teaches us that “godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Timothy 6:6). No haughty heart with a conceited opinion of itself will ever acquire this invaluable spiritual treasure. It can only be obtained by humble saints who are completely content with the present manifestations of God’s unmerited favor. Of course, a conceited soul will never know such contentment, since it is always convinced that it’s being shortchanged by God’s grace.
The conceited soul is perfectly illustrated for us in our Lord’s famous parable of the Prodigal Son. In the parable, the “younger son” comes to his loving father and demands his inheritance (Luke 15:12). Not content in his father’s house or the least bit grateful for his father’s abundant daily provision, the conceited prodigal felt entitled to an inheritance. He felt his father owed him whatever he needed to make himself happy in the “far country.” How typical is this prodigal of the conceited souls populating this planet, souls that are neither content with nor grateful for God’s daily blessings, but convinced that God owes them whatever it will take to make them happy in this world?
Rather than leading to contentment and happiness this prevalent philosophy of life leads only to lifelong discontentment and misery. Think about it; who is more unsatisfied with the things of this world than those who possess the most of them? Is it not the rich who are most unsatisfied with riches? No matter how much money they have they are ever driven to make another dollar. Regardless of the amount of their wealth, they are never satisfied with how wealthy they are.
The same can be said of fame that is said of fortune; it is those who possess the most of it who appear least satisfied with it. No matter how many standing ovations celebrities receive they are always looking and longing for another curtain call. The spotlight on them must never dim, and no matter how bright it shines, it is never bright enough.
Who are the most power-hungry people in the world? Is it not those already in power? No matter what office they hold they appear ever driven to higher office, and no matter how high the office or how long they’ve held it they are never satisfied with the power they possess.
Who is more unsatisfied with sensual pleasure than the sexually promiscuous? Who is more unsatisfied with drink than the drunkard? Who is more unsatisfied with food than the glutton? On and on we could go, but I believe the point is proven, as our Lord plainly taught us in the Parable of the Prodigal Son, the search for happiness in the things of this world leads only to the “pig pen”; that is, to lifelong discontentment and misery.
In Luke 12:15, Jesus taught us that “a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things which he possesses.” We will never find contentment or the meaning to life in worldly possessions, position or pleasures. Instead, we will only find it when we empty our arms of all worldly things in order to embrace Christ alone, who alone can satisfy our hungry souls (Philippians 3:7-8; Psalm 107:9).
A man once asked his king how he could be happy. The king advised him to find the happiest man in the kingdom so that he could walk a mile in his shoes. After a few months, the man returned to the throne room. When the king asked if he had been successful in finding the happiest man in the realm, the man replied in the affirmative. Then, when the king asked his subject if he had walked a mile in the happiest man’s shoes, he received a surprising answer. The man informed the king that he had not. When the king asked why not, his loyal subject simply explained, “The happiest man in your kingdom does not own any shoes.”
To quiet and calm the soul requires us to empty our arms of all worldly things in order to embrace Christ alone, who alone can satisfy our hungry soul.