God is working on me and my pride.
A certain type of pride is in everything I am and I do. I’m very proud of my accomplishments and the growth of my newly launched digital ministry. I’m proud of my summer garden that yields cherry tomatoes, lettuce, pole beans, strawberries, bell peppers and okra. I’m proud that I’m self-made, a project girl that made good. All of these things create a certain amount of confidence, self-assurance and yes, at times, arrogance.
God doesn’t have a problem with my confidence. He didn’t give me a spirit of timidity. He wants me to feel self-assured because I’m His daughter. My pride in the form of arrogance, however, He has no use for it. I’d liken it to junk food. I’ve been dieting but my treat is a bag of caramel popcorn. Three-fourths cup is 120 calories of buttery, caramel goodness. It tastes so good. Each serving contains a single gram of dietary fiber and protein, 2% vitamin A, no iron, no calcium and zero vitamin C. It does offer 17 grams of sugar. That is pride, an empty calorie. It’s all feeling and no sustenance. You’re puffed up like a peacock and full of yourself. You’ve convinced of yourself, your ways, your perspective minus what you really need.
Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18)
If we’re not careful, pride can turn us into a mobile device that’s plugged in but it can’t get an electric charge. It’s like an app that can’t be downloaded. It’s a corrupted file that can’t be saved. Nothing gets in and nothing goes out. There’s no input and there’s no output. Pride is Purposely Rejecting the Installation of Divine Education.
Pride ranks high on the lists of things the Lord dislikes (Proverbs 6:16-19) because it can ruin a good thing and trump a well-earned victory.
Pride takes root in the heart. If the heart is the wellspring of life, then pride ends up in everything, a spiritual poison.
Pride can disable you. If you’re rendered blind, deaf, dumb (ignorant) to your own behavior, how can you heal from it? If you’re spiritually blind, you cannot see. If you’re deaf, you cannot hear.
Pride prevents relationship. If you cannot see or hear, how can you be in relationship with God or anyone else for that matter? You’ve only allowed enough room for you.
Pride or self-conceit is self-sovereignty. Yes, we have a say in our actions, our future and our choices. But, the credit for all of it goes to Him. Admittedly, my arrogance has said more than a few times over the course of my life, “Can’t nobody tell me nothing. I got this!”
Pride prevents us from acknowledging our weaknesses which means we can’t acknowledge His strength in our circumstances. Pride convinces us to care more about the opinions of people than the opinion of God. So even when we’re winning, we lose. We lose sight of the end game: His glory, not ours.
If your presence in a room or a conversation sucks up all the oxygen and available space, well, that’s pride.
If anytime you get some feedback from someone and it makes you uncomfortable and rebellious, that’s pride.
If your default setting whenever you encounter something or someone uncomfortable is denial, that’s pride.
If you can’t recover from minor offenses, that’s pride.
If you can’t open your mouth to speak to people because they’re not of your ilk, that’s pride.
We can be winning at all the seemingly “right” things and losing where it counts. God is working on me and my pride. In an effort to keep it in check, I’m taking a cue from the parable Jesus told about the Pharisee and the tax collector who went to the temple to pray in Luke 18:9-14. One man is proud of his outward appearance and actions. He looks down on others to support his self-appointed superiority. Then there’s the tax collector who sheds his pride.
And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’
I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:13-14)