Category Archives: Pride

Consider others

Pride

Philippians 2:3 Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.

When we’re prideful we can’t see past ourselves to meet the needs of others.  We view ourselves as the highest priority and we care very little what God wants of us or what others might be feeling.  But a humble spirit puts others first.

All around us are ads, people, groups, businesses and all other manner of communications telling us to put ourselves first and to basically forget about other people and what they want.  You’re #1.  You deserve the best.  But a follower of Christ, a person after His own heart, will not be able to do this without feeling a strong urging to do the opposite.  We’re called to put others first.

This can be taken to an extreme where the person seeking to put others before themselves actually neglects their own needs to their detriment. A balance has to be found though.  We do have things we need and we shouldn’t forget to take care of ourselves. But by considering others more significant than ourselves, we’re just reorganizing our priorities a bit. We’re more courteous, doing things like helping out where we see a need, even when it might make us late.  We’re willing to inconvenience ourselves for the sake of others.  We give our time.  This is humility and God honors it.

Let another praise

Pride

Proverbs 27:2  Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips

So if pride is so destructive and humility is the way to go, how can we go about being more humble?  How can we act in a way that is pleasing to God and not so self-centered and prideful?  What does the Bible say about how to do this?

The book of Proverbs is loaded with advice on seeking wisdom and keeping away from a prideful heart.  One tip that more of us should consider in our daily lives is being more quiet about ourselves.  It’s ok to have joy about a job well done or to tell someone if you’ve achieved something.  This proverb doesn’t mean to never celebrate good work, it just means not to be the kind of person who constantly self congratulates.  Boasting is definitely prideful and should be avoided.  Leave it to other people to give you props.

But here’s the thing.  This isn’t all about actions and behaviors.  It’s not about just not doing something like boasting.  This is a heart issue.  Not being prideful doesn’t just mean don’t act prideful.  This is about having a humble heart before God.  He knows our innermost thoughts and condition, He knows when we’re showing false humility and when we’re truly humble.

So don’t brag about yourself, not just because you know not to act prideful, but because you want a soft heart that loves God and puts Him first.

 

God resists the proud, but…

Pride

James 4:6  But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

We’ve all seen the downside of pride.  The pain it can cause.  The alienation, the disappointment.  Pride can cut us off from God because the proud displace God in favor of themselves.  The proud make themselves into their own god.  This is why God resists them.  But there is hope.  There is grace.

Though God resists the proud, we find that He gives grace to the humble.  This doesn’t just mean that those who continually show humility receive grace.  God so freely gives His grace that even someone who recognizes their pride and turns to Him in humility can receive it.  He’s so willing to pour out His grace that He extends the offer to anyone that turns from their pride.

Humility is about putting God back where He belongs and ourselves back where we belong.  We’re not God and we do a good thing when we recognize that and admit it.  With God in the place of Lord and us under His authority, we’re able to receive the grace He offers.  Pride, however, won’t allow us to receive that gift.  Step aside!

 

Pride will bring you low

Pride

Proverbs 29:23  One’s pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.

Pride is one of those things in our lives that can go undetected, unchecked, and unsuspected for a long time.  We may think we’re doing just fine by behaving the way we are, never even having so much as a hint that we’re being driven by our own pride.  Then it happens.

It’s interesting how much easier it is to see pride in someone else’s life than it is in our own.  When someone comes crashing down after they let their pride guide them in all their decisions, we have an “I saw it coming” attitude, but when it happens to us it’s always a surprise.  The old illustration of boiling a frog seems appropriate here.  If you put a frog in hot water, he’ll jump out, but if you put him in room temperature water and increase the heat little by little, you’ll boil him.  Pride creeps into our lives in this way, not all at once, but a little bit at a time.  One selfish decision leads to another and so on.

But it can’t go on forever.  Everyone who is led by their pride will eventually fall and when they do it would have been better for them to bring themselves down in humility than to face the consequences of their pride.  We have many chances along the way to check our pride and make sure we humbly put it aside.  It’s better to do it voluntarily than to be brought low without warning.  Following the example of Christ will help us in this endeavor.

Pride goes before destruction

Pride

Proverbs 16:18 Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.

Have you ever witnessed someone who seemed to have it all together suddenly tumble down from their high position, whether that means losing respect, losing money, or losing everything?  Beware of pride lest that be you in the future.  Pride has killed many giants, and it’s the root of many sins.

Things like lust, arrogance, anger issues, disrespect, irreverence for God, divorce, lawsuits, and many others on a long list can often be traced back to their roots in pride.  For so many of us, pride is not something we see in ourselves until it’s too late.  We carry on our lives without realizing that what drives us is our self-pride.  We ruin relationships, step on others, cheat, abuse, and sin all because of pride…and we don’t even realize it because we’re blind to it.

But if we ask God to open our eyes, to keep us from pride and to help us repent, He’ll show us the way.  Pride does come before destruction, but the good news is that we don’t have to remain prideful.  We can’t get over the problem of pride on our own, we have to turn to Jesus, but His power is sufficient to relieve us and bring us back to a humble demeanor under His grace.

A Question of Beauty


Looking in the mirror it’s hard sometimes not to see our flaws and imperfections as they stare back at us. Maybe it’s a little bit of the world around us with its ever changing standards, not so subtly pushing us towards its own perceptions of beauty. It imposes itself on us, flooding us with images and ideas of what it means to be pretty or handsome. It tries to take and mold those who do not fit those standards, trying to make and re-make them in its own image until finally, in a sense of deeper conformity, it pushes people to meet with that image.

Yet the truth is, for as much as that may be the case, it has more to do with us than it does anything else. After all, we are the ones looking and seeing, wanting to somehow be different than we are, using whatever these standards are as a measure of ourselves to try and change, to want to change, somehow thinking there’s something wrong with us.

You see, what we need to remember is that we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14) in the image of our Heavenly Father. (Genesis 1:26) Still, even amidst that, each of us are as unique and as special as the love that God has for us, formed by the wonders of His touch and with the gifts that He intended for us. That’s what makes us truly special, it’s what makes the truest beauty, and the most wondrous of elegance.

It is the image that we see when we look in our hearts, when we look at our deeds, not necessarily the one that we see when we look in the mirror. After all, that can be deceiving and can be trapped in vanity. It can be fleeting, soon to disappear as it washes away with the tides of time. (Proverbs 30:21) It can hide a heart that is cold and hurtful.

That isn’t to say that all who are by the standards around us considered beautiful, are that way. There is no question that they can, and do have a radiance that shines from within their hearts. That though is their most real and sincere beauty and they realize it too, knowing that when everything else in the world starts to fade that’s what they have to count on.

It’s that it’s important to remember that the truest standard of beauty that we can have, the most stunning of grace that can take hold of us is judged by the love in our hearts, the hope in our spirits, and the wonders we make use of in our souls. It lies in how we look at the world, at those who are in need around us and strive to help them, how we edify and uplift our fellow man making their lives just a little bit better. It’s the sense of charity and faith that guides us to imitate our Blessed Savior in the healing power of His touch, seeking to be more to those around us.

Sometimes this is hard for us to remember when we are bombarded with images of the perfect smile, the perfect body, the perfect hair, or whatever else it may be. We think life will just be that much easier, we will be able to get whatever it is that we want or feel that we need if we are a little thinner or a little better looking, if we have a little more hair on our head or whatever else it may be. Yet, in the end, when these things fade, we either end up struggling with the fact that they are slipping away from us, or we have the love and the hope in our hearts that guided us to be better people, to be stronger and more courageous of people.

Rather than trying to obtain beauty, be beautiful with a light that shines forth from your heart. Rather than seeing flaws or imperfections, see a person who has a chance to do more and be more with themselves today, knowing the gifts your Heavenly Father gave you, and using them to change the world around you rather than trying to change yourself for the world. You’re only as beautiful as you let yourself be, the question becomes how beautiful do you want to be?

God judges not by the physical appearance but by the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7) What will He see when He looks in yours? Will it be the beauty of your love blooming? Or will it be a preoccupation with being exactly as you perceive you need to look?

Find your beauty within, and bring it out through love, hope, faith and charity. When you do, everything else will make sense in the wonders that it hold.

A Public Display


There is a warning from our blessed Savior that all of His faithful disciples must heed lest they fall into the trap of arrogance, pride and self-righteousness. It is the cautionary counsel that informs the spiritually aware not to make their faith into a show, or a matter of theater for others to see. (Matthew 6:5-18) What is done in secret, He admonishes, is done for God to take notice of, it need not be seen by others.

Yet what does that really mean? What does it mean and what effect is it meant to have on the life of the faithful and the devoted given in a life to Christ?

Every now and then when faith is displayed for the world to see, that question seems to arise as those words of Christ as quoted. We see it even today amidst our society as the public displays of devotion of some are shunned and sought to be ushered away, making it almost sound as if that humility before the God of our creation is something shameful. How then do we answer that question in a spiritually aware way, and how do we reconcile the proper degree of piety with the marvels of the wonders of God’s blessings we want nothing more than to show the world?

As with all the teachings handed to us by the Divine Word of our Lord, we must allow for Scripture not only to guide us, but to interpret itself for us. There is nothing hypocritical, nor is there any degree of arrogance in displaying your faith for the world to see. In fact, without the works we do, meant to be given in love to others as a sign of devotion to Christ, (John 13:34-36), our faith stagnates and dies. (James 2:14-26) Grafted to the tree of life, our spirits, given to God, are meant to bear fruits. These are meant to be seen, they are meant to be gifts from us to others that we may edify and nourish the whole being of those around us in need.

So clear is Christ on this matter that the next verses (Matthew 6:19-24) warn of us of storing our treasures, of hoarding them deep from sight. What greater treasure have we than the faith that saves us in the redemption that it offers unto us?

At the core of Christ’s teaching is not to hide our faith away, as if it would be sinful for us to display it. If it were there would be no greater hypocrite and sinner than the perfect Son of God whose blameless life made way our path on high. What our Savior tried to demonstrate was a lesson about the self-righteous judging of others based on faith. It meant to teach us a deeper lesson about how we must look at ourselves and look at others, never elevating ourselves above them, living a life devoid of love while claiming to understand the heart and mind of our God.

In humility we are meant to live in service to one another, caring for each other as we care for ourselves and our own spiritual growth, and wellbeing. This cannot be done by locking our faith away from sight, just as surely as it cannot be done with judgmental eyes and scornful tongues.

As a faithful disciple of Christ show your faith, not as a point of pride but as the sign of your humility before a God who calls on you to live a life in service to others, to strengthen and edify those around you. Remember the world will always judge you for it by a different standard than it judges itself, but you are not given over to those assessments. No, by the power of the Spirit, you are given to grace in faith to a loving God who has set the example before you in His beloved Son given for you and your salvation. Our God gives us an armor that is meant for the righteous battles for faith, and like any armor it cannot be hidden away unless it is not worn, and that is when the truly devastating wounds pierce us.

Be not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of salvation (Romans 1:16) and let none tell you it is shameful to carry forward into this world, for it is the strength of endurance, and the hope of our love in the wonders of God’s Spirit through us.