Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Pride Is Dangerous

When I look back on my life I want to do it with a sense of pride. I want to be able to say that I don’t have regrets and that I lived a life of faith and integrity. It isn’t about feeling like I am better than other people, but about understanding that I gave my best effort. We should be proud when we do our best to complete a task.

While there is a proper time and place for pride to exist, a life defined by pride is deadly. Pride, perhaps more than any other reason, keeps people from God, and from develop close relationships with other people. The arrogance of pride seeks to elevate us about all others. Consider what John Ortberg wrote in The Life You’ve Always Wanted:
“At the deepest level, pride is the choice to exclude both God and other people from their rightful place in our hearts. Jesus said that the essence of spiritual life is to love God and to love people. Pride destroys our capacity to love...Pride moves us to exclude instead of to embrace. Pride moves us to bow down before a mirror rather than before God. Pride moves us to judge rather than to serve. Pride means not only that we want to be smart and wealthy, but also that we will not be satisfied until we are smarter and wealthier than those around us. Pride is essentially comparative in nature.” (p. 110)

How do we fight the arrogant pride our flesh calls us to embrace? Let me offer you three ideas.
  1. Consider Jesus. The apostle Paul wrote in Philippians that our attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:5). Following verse 5, Paul describes the attitude of Jesus that we should imitate. If we are following Jesus then we need to do our best aligning our lives with His life.
  2. Serve in small things. This is the essence of Christianity. In Matthew 25:31-46, the teaching on final judgment, we notice that those who are saved do the small acts of service. The give food to the hungry, clothe the naked, and visit the lonely. These acts of service aren’t going to bring accolades and recognition, but they will remind us that great joy is found in the simplest things. Helping those in need is more important that making a name for ourselves.
  3. Submit to God. James 4:6 and 1 Peter 5:5 reminds us that God gives grace to the humble and opposes pride. Then both writers basically tell us the same thing: submit to God. This is a choice that we make, it won’t come naturally to us, but is something that we do in spite of our feelings. Until we submit to God it will be impossible for us to be humble, and arrogance will haunt us every day of our lives.

Pride is deadly to our Christian walk. We have to take the appropriate measures to guard against it, for it will steal away from us the relationships that really matter, and will prevent us from having the type of influence that could really make a difference.

I want to encourage you to read Philippians 2:1-11 and ask God to show you how you can imitate the humility of Jesus. It is through humility that we are able to live the life God created us to live.

  • Point to Ponder: It is through humility that we are able to live the life God created us to live.
  • Passage to Remember: Philippians 2:1-11
  • Question to Consider: How has pride hurt your relationships with God and other people?

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