Photo Credit: See-ming Lee
We don’t like when we see it in others, but truthfully, we all struggle with it. In some way or another, it surfaces. And is it any wonder? We are all directly infected with the sin nature of pride, by the Master of pride himself.
As our government has recently taken a stand to go against what God’s word says about homosexuality, there has been an element of arrogant pride that has been demonstrated. We are understandably saddened and disheartened by it, but I’ve been challenged to look into my own heart to address a bit of the same root issue of pride that threatens to destroy each of us. It doesn’t matter if we are Bible-believing Christians, or not. We will never become immune to the spirit of pride until we are in heaven.
We know that pride is anti-God, and many of us would never go as far as to live our life like this. However, I’m afraid we subtly demonstrate the same spirit in many other ways. This pride can cripple our potential and diminish our effectiveness.
Let me share a few personal examples with you.
When I was growing up, I was typically viewed as being more reserved and definitely not one who would want to do anything on a stage in public. I was completely terrified of things like this! Over the years, I’ve been able to overcome a bit of that as I’ve participated with our family singing ministry. I graduated to where I felt a bit more comfortable with being on a stage. Years ago, I told my husband, “I will help to sing, but please don’t ever ask me to say anything. I just can’t talk in front of many people.” (I call this the Moses mentality. And I definitely had it!)
Well, guess what God has been asking me to do? The last several years, I’ve felt that God has been asking me to be stretched in this area. My fear of becoming a public failure needed to be surrendered to Him. I’ve realized that pride was at the root of why I was so adamantly opposed of public speaking. My attention was on myself instead of wanting to be used in whatever way God saw fit. I’ve been repenting of the spirit of pride and God has been bringing speaking opportunities my way.
Do I feel capable and qualified? Absolutely not! Every time I go to share at a women’s conference, I ask myself, “Why did I ever consent to do this?” (This is when I realize that my fear of God and what He asks me to do, has now become greater than my fear of failure.)
How many of you know that God wants to put His finger on the areas of our lives where we are struggling with pride? He often asks us to go to those places where we feel utterly incapable and inadequate so we will completely depend on Him. Have you ever noticed that God often uses those who are less talented in the most powerful way, while the most talented ones are watching from the sidelines?
Although it’s good to work towards accomplishing goals and to have big dreams, there’s also a danger in this. Our self-esteem should never come from our accomplishments, but from knowing that our achievements and character is based on God and His plan for us.
Pride can also be demonstrated in the area of needing approval and recognition from others. It seeks for superiority and finds pleasure in being set apart from others.
Have you ever met individuals who appear self-confident and who look for every opportunity to be involved in many things? Their opinion of themselves in accomplishing their numerous goals and activities stems from the spirit of pride. Sometimes their motive for being involved in so many activities is to attract more attention to themselves or to demonstrate “saintliness.” They rely heavily on the approval of others and struggle when others are promoted and they aren’t.
Isaiah says, “A day is coming, when the haughty eyes of people shall be brought low, and the pride of everyone will be humbled.” (Isa. 2:11)
Are you okay with being a silent, unobserved, (and often un-thanked) behind-the-scenes person or do you try to be on the front lines? Do you find yourself looking for great opportunities in leadership or are you content to serve in “little” unidentified ways that God has called you to? Are you frequently portraying to others that your children are exceptionally godly, gifted, or filled with amazing character qualities? This may be a source of pride as well.
May God examine each of our hearts and help us to recognize and then repent of the spirit of pride coming from our hearts. Let’s recognize that the approval of the crowds, a competitive spirit, wanting to be in the limelight, feelings of superiority, and the fear of failure are all outward symptoms of a bigger root issue of pride in our lives. Pride will cripple and destroy us if we allow it.
However, in contrast, God’s word says…”By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, and honour, and life.” (Prov. 22:4) Let’s purpose to fear God by fulfilling each of our activities out of obedience to Him rather than being hindered in any way by pride. When we do, we will receive eternal riches, honor, and LIFE. What a promise!
~Cindy (For The Mullett Family)