“All men make mistakes, but a good man yields when he knows his course is wrong, and repairs the evil. The only crime is pride.” ~Sophocles
Pride is a powerful force, having caused more sorrow and harm than any other human response. Pride is a ‘gateway’ sin in that it allows lust, anger, jealousy, envy and the like into our minds to corrupt our soul and Spirit. Pride leads us to believe how great we are and how others are much better off because of us; causing us to believe we don’t need help and we don’t need God. C.S. Lewis writes in Mere Christianity, “As long as you are proud you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on things and people: and, of course, as long as you are looking down you cannot see something that is above you.” Pride’s ultimate accomplishment in every person is the loneliness and despair it leaves in its wake.
Even while writing this I can feel pride pushing back, arguing this is not my problem! The enemy is at the gate attempting to take me off course…
Pride blinds us to the truth of who we really are and leads us into the dangerous position of believing we know better than everyone else, even God. For “when dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures bristling with prejudice and motivated by pride and vanity.” (Carnegie) It is only God’s Word that tells us the truth about ourselves. Yes, it makes us uncomfortable… even irritated and resentful! But not without good purpose; if we allow God’s Word to have its way it will cause the destruction of the life we have built on pride’s lies. This will break our hearts and leave much to be restored, causing us to know sorrow. But Paul reveals that this sorrow for the condition pride has left us in is a good thing, “For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.” (2 Cor 7:10)
Can you hear that voice telling you are ok… you don’t need to listen to this, you have nothing to repent for! Maybe it’s time, to be honest with ourselves and really consider how our pride has harmed ourselves and every other person we have pierced with its lies…
Our only defense against pride is the cross. We have no ability to fight pride within ourselves; for the very struggle feeds our willful self with pride, which wants us to feel self-righteous and proud of our efforts. Our success here requires repentance of our ‘ self-righteousness’ and a turning to the cross!
Paul tells us from his own battle with pride, “My old ‘willful’ self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Gal 2:20) It is Paul’s self-centered will, having been pressed on by pride, that he has ‘crucified with Christ’; he has done this by rejecting his own self-centered desires. Now he allows God’s Word to drive all his thoughts, motivations, and responses. Paul reveals the way to kill pride when he writes, “And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be ‘a living and holy sacrifice (crucified with Christ)’; the kind he will find acceptable (just as God found Jesus’ humility acceptable). This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world (being that of pride), but let God ‘transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.’ Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Romans 12:1-2)
Do you want to know rest from all your struggles? Let God’s Word have its way in your life. Let it knock down and remove the walls pride has built and replaced it with the joy of knowing Jesus and the truth of His Word.
“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)
Written by David Brown: David Brown is a husband, father, grandfather, Pastor with a Masters of Religious Studies and a Professor of Philosophy and Comparative Religions. Dave is the Associate Pastor of Pemberton’s First Baptist Church. He is the author of two devotional books, “From a Chair by the Window.” And “#PrayerWinsThe Day”.
Think About This: “If the righteousness of Christ allows me to stand before a holy God utterly unafraid, why should I be haunted by what you think of me?” ―