"Diva" can mean several different things. Originally, it came from a Latin word meaning "god." Later, in English, "divas" referred to famous female singers. Decades later, being called a "diva" has taken on a derogatory tone and is often used to define a person who is high maintenance, vain, and excessively picky about their circumstances. To be a diva is to be someone difficult to please.
Sometimes, a person with strong opinions or confidence will automatically be accused of being a diva. But a loud personality or knowing exactly what one prefers is not necessarily an indication of self-centeredness. Dressing stylishly, wearing makeup and jewelry, or having a loud voice does not always mean appearances and attention is all that person cares about. Loving the arts, such as film, literature, or crafting does not mean that person is shallow and disconnected from God. We should be careful about judging others as "divas" on appearance alone. People will have a variety of interests, personalities, skills, and strengths. These things do not define a person as a diva or not a diva.
Today's definition of a diva is a person who is entirely self-focused. If someone pressures others to view their interests and needs as the primary importance in a situation or relationship, they are putting themselves before all others. Those who are so focused on themselves that they are unable to see how anyone else is affected by their own actions is showing a blatant disregard for others' well-being. People who make no effort to understand another point of view, or make space for another's unique personality, interests, skills, or strengths have narrowed their world to a single perspective—their own.
We all have our moments of "being a diva"—acting selfishly, feeling self-righteous, or being stubborn or prideful. But as followers of Christ, those moments should not define us. We are called to love God and care for ourselves and others (Mark 12:28-34), and a habitual self-centered attitude makes that extremely difficult if not impossible.
Divas focus on how situations will benefit them personally and have little to no regard for anyone else. But God charges us with a radically different lifestyle. Paul cautions all Christians about being egocentric in Philippians 2:2-3: "Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others." We are all equally guilty of sin; no one can say they're better than another.
As believers, we should not think of ourselves as more deserving or worthy of special attention than others. Being known as a high maintenance friend, family member, or coworker is not reflective of Christ. Instead, we should be known for our humility (2 Corinthians 12:9-10; Romans 12:3; Luke 14:11) and admitting our mistakes (Psalm 45:7).
Of course, it's important to note that we have zero control over how people perceive us. They may perceive us wrongly. Honestly examining our hearts and convictions can help us understand if they're rooted in humility or arrogance.
The Bible tells the story of Diotrephes, a man who "who likes to put himself first" (3 John 1:9). John defines this man further as one who "does not acknowledge our authority." As Christians, we should be humbly open to hearing instruction and weighing it against truth (1 John 4:1-6) rather than rejecting all things outright just because we don’t like them. We must try our best to be like Jesus, who encapsulated the opposite attitude of being a diva: servanthood.
Jesus explains this dynamic in Mark 10:35-45, when brothers James and John ask Jesus to seat them next to Him in Heaven. He tells them that seating people in Heaven is not His gift to give, and the other disciples get indignant over the audacity of these two men. Comparison and unhealthy competition start to brew among the disciples.
Finally, Jesus clarifies how glory and esteem work in God’s kingdom: "...whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many" (Mark 10:43-45). To be glorified, one must be humble, and the one seeking to be glorified will be seated last.
A diva mentality is in direct opposition to following Jesus. Divas are focused on themselves rather than glorifying God (1 Corinthians 10:31). Christians should keep their focus on Jesus and His example to love and care for others—not disregard God's will. We are to direct all praise, worship, and glory to Jesus alone (John 3:30)—not to ourselves.
Divas believe their opinions are worth more than others'. Yet every person is equal in God’s eyes, and, as believers, we should view everyone as being equal too (Galatians 3:28; Romans 2:11). All people’s opinions are worthy of listening to and important to consider.
Rather than being a self-centered diva, we must look to Christ’s example of servanthood. The Holy Spirit can help us as we learn through studying Jesus' life in the Bible—how He treated others as He healed, taught, fed, and interacted with a crowd that society thought to be pretty low.
We cannot go on living for ourselves alone; we must live to serve and follow Christ (Philippians 1:21; John 3:30). We cannot count ourselves as more important than others; we must adopt a servant's nature. Pride is at the root of diva-like behavior, and turning toward humility will lead to servanthood.
If you find yourself thinking you're "too good" to do certain things, then take a moment to check your pride. Actively choose tasks you might consider "lowly", such as helping wipe toddlers' faces in children's ministry at church, doing the dishes after you share a meal at a friend's house, cleaning up the cat barf instead of calling someone else to do it. All these little actions help whittle down our pride and allow a humble, servant's spirit to flourish.
If you're feeling bad about yourself or your past right now, don't lose hope. We can't change things until we’ve been convicted that we need to. Talk to God and ask Him to forgive your prideful, diva behaviors (Philippians 4:6; 1 John 1:9). Ask Him to grow your spirit of humility and servanthood as you move forward from this point on (Luke 11:9-10; James 4:10).
Divas are people who exhibit high-maintenance behavior, prideful selfishness, and extreme pickiness regarding their circumstances and preferences. A diva believes the world revolves around them and has no regard for God’s command to be humble (Romans 12:3). Every person is equal in God’s eyes, and, as believers, we should view everyone as being equal too (Galatians 3:28). Pride is at the root of diva-like behavior, and turning toward humility will lead to a humble, servant's spirit.
Vivian loves learning, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She is dedicated to helping people learn more about Jesus and is ready to help in any way she can. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, cooking, drawing, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, you can find her soaking up the sunshine or going on an adventure.
September is an avid film nerd from growing up on weekend trips to Universal Studios Hollywood. She is passionate about the intersections of Christian spirituality, faith, and storytelling in popular culture. Outside of 412teens and digging up obscure horror flicks from the 2000s, she works as a freelance developmental editor and acquisitions consultant while comforting her clingy feline floof, Faust, from the anxiety of existence.