“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 16:18
Recently God has been revealing deep-rooted pride in my heart. Pride in my knowledge and abilities that has festered and grown into anger, bitterness, jealously, sassiness, and downright rudeness. While many people tell me I’m sweet or helpful, underneath it all is a prideful sinner in need of a holy Savior. I was slowly becoming more aware of my pride problem, and then things climaxed and I was called out on my pride in a painful, “something has to change right now” sort of way. God used an unbeliever to call me out on my sin, and that cut me deep. I was supposed to be living a life that glorifies Him and points others to Christ, but instead I was setting a terrible example. God puts His people through the refiner’s fire to burn off the impurities (Zechariah 13:9, Malachi 3:3), and lately I have felt like I am continually aflame. And it hurts! But God is faithful, and we know that He works all things out according to His plan and for our eternal well-being (Romans 8:28).
In response to these recent events (and in preparation for writing this post), I read a booklet by Stuart Scott called “From Pride to Humility”. It may only be 30 pages long, but it is packed with biblical truth and I strongly recommend it. Pride is the root of most (if not all) sins; at its core is self-worship. Pride manifests itself in many ways. You may be prideful about your abilities, accomplishments, knowledge, possessions or self-righteousness. Even self-pity is a form of pride because it is self-focus and a desire for your own glory or status. Any time we turn our eyes off of God and to ourselves, that is pride. God created and continues to sustain everything, and He is deserving of all glory and praise.
“For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.” Romans 11:36
Pride is an abomination to God (Proverbs 16:5) and we need to learn to see pride as God sees it. Think about some of the sins in your life and work backwards towards the root – chances are it’s pride. If you struggle with anger, you might be acting out on a mindset that your way is best, you know the most, or that everyone else is wrong. What’s at the root? Self-worship, a.k.a. pride. Or have you withdrawn from the people in your church because you don’t think you fit in? Perhaps others aren’t paying you the attention you think you deserve or aren’t seeking you out? That’s pride too – you are focused on yourself rather than on God.
None of us is able to do good in and of ourselves. Without the Holy Spirit, our every thought and action is tainted by sin. We are unworthy to stand before a holy God. Do you feel like scum? There is hope!
“For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” Romans 5:6-11
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9
Praise God! He doesn’t leave us in our sin but instead offers a way of salvation. Through Christ’s substitutionary death and resurrection, we are not only cleansed from our sin, but we are given the gift of eternal life in the presence of our holy God! Amen! Christ voluntarily died in our place and showers us in mercy (sparing us from the wrath that we deserve) and grace (giving us a gift we do not deserve). Therefore, we must see our sin as God sees it, repent, and bow down in worship of our holy God with a heart of humility and gratitude.
“God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6b
“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3
“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” Mark 10:45
God commands us to be humble, and that is only possible through the Holy Spirit moving in our hearts. We have been given the perfect example of humility – Jesus! Imagine the life of glory and perfection that Jesus was experiencing in Heaven before he came down to earth as a baby. He is God, and yet he submitted himself to the Father’s plan. He did not come as royalty but as a vulnerable baby born into a fallen world. His life was one of service and humility. He poured out his time and energy on the sick, needy, and often ungrateful people. He served day in and day out and ultimately gave up his life in a gruesome way and without complaint. My problems seem so minuscule and ridiculous in comparison to all that Christ experienced.
“Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:31b
“But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ…” Galatians 6:14a
As you go through your day, I challenge you to examine your heart and see where pride has taken hold. See it as God sees it, repent, and then grasp onto the hope that is offered through Christ’s atonement. His blood is strong enough to cleanse the vilest heart.
NOTE: Author has asked to be left anonymous.