He was well-respected by the world. He came back from a struggle with cancer to win seven consecutive Tour de France cycling championships. He founded an organization to support cancer victims. Then after investigations by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, the truth came out. Throughout his career, Lance Armstrong had used performance-enhancing drugs to help him win. In a matter of months, he lost everything he had worked for: his awards, his sponsors, and even his cancer foundation. In a television interview in January, Armstrong said the image he had tried to show the world during his cycling career was, “one big lie that I repeated a lot of times.”

At some point, the pedestal we set up to make ourselves look better in front of people will become like a house of cards, falling to the ground. God has many ways of seeing to that. The best thing we can do is be real and humble ourselves before God and others, even if it means letting our flaws come to the surface. It’s a lot easier to fall from our natural height than to fall from a high horse we have created for ourselves. The key is to think soberly about ourselves in relation to others: Other people don’t owe us anything. God doesn’t owe us anything. We should just be grateful to be alive and to have the things He has given us. Expect nothing more and nothing less.

Have you been constructing a “high horse” for yourself? One way to know if you are doing this is if you take others for granted: So-and-so has to speak to me as I pass them in the hallway; So-and-so has to like me if I am to be happy; So-and-so has to give me a compliment; So-and-so has to treat me this way so that I feel good. This is self-centeredness at its worst, and it won’t be long before you get bucked from your high horse. Save yourself the pain by bucking this high horse of pride first.

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder