Pride

You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you. Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.

Peter 5:5-9 NAS                                                

The greatest spiritual cancer in anyone’s life is pride. For believers in Christ, pride is the beginning of the end regarding a fruitful life and enjoying God’s blessing.  Pride is often confused with confidence. One person will say they have confidence while someone else might consider this person’s attitude or action as prideful. Depending on a person’s personality there is a world of difference between how an extrovert looks at pride and how introverts look at pride; rarely do they look the same.

But if you notice the text above the only person’s opinion that counts as to the nature of pride is God Himself.  What a startling statement that God personally opposes those who are proud but gives grace to the humble. God takes this seriously and steps in personally when pride creeps in and starts influencing and directing the thoughts, attitudes and actions of His children.

The only solution is humility. The choice to humble ourselves it is the voluntary act of bringing myself low or to a lower position than someone else.  Philippians 2:3-4 explains humility slightly differently:

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.

Philippians 2:3-4 NAS

 Humility does not have to compete or prove anything to others. A humble person is the most secure person in the world and solidly confident in their identity, in who they are.  The one concrete term juxtaposed with humility in Philippians is the word “selfishness” which I will propose to you is at the core of pride. Selfishness and pride are a dangerous and inseparable duo. If anything destroys meaningful unity and healthy relationships in the Body of Christ it is pride. A humble person considers others as more important than oneself so they can selflessly respond to their needs without devaluing or demeaning self.  Pride is selfish and needs to prove superiority over others: judging, ridicule, condescending towards others and even intimidation are all symptoms of active pride. Attitude is always a big issue with pride and while it may hide well it has little respect for others.

Now we are not talking about being proud of an accomplishment or being proud of our kids when they do something well. That kind of pride is about being excited for an accomplishment or someone’s success. That is not this kind of pride that we are talking about here.

Pride is everyone’s enemy but it may be perceived as a survival tool. Those who come from very broken and difficult family backgrounds, pride becomes the armor keeping one safe from the threats and intimidations of others; it becomes a safe-house from being overwhelmed and swallowed up by others. But pride is a dangerous partner for it will ultimately betray us and destroy our credibility. Clearly, God will not tolerate pride in His children or in the community of faith. Pride is a dead end road with very few options.

With a desire for humility – Pastor Brad