It’s pretty evident that we live in a society that promotes the “me-first” syndrome: Pride. It leads people to seek recognition to exalt ones self, it treats others unfairly, it accepts no responsibility for wrongdoing, it speaks constantly without listening, and is only concerned with self. Whether you want to admit it or not, pride infects us all. Those that don’t recognize it in themselves, likely have a higher degree of it.
All of us are guilty of it, and none of us are exempt from this sin- yes, that includes those in authority as well. It’s very dangerous and the bible has warned against pride many times. 1 Peter 5:5 tells us to be clothed in humility because God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. He resists the proud- other words that are synonymous to the word resist are ‘opposes‘, ‘rejects‘, and ‘is against’. Which means we should be trying that much more to try to overcome this deadly sin, on a daily basis.
Pride makes it impossible for us to be clothed in humility. It separates people from God, and prevents them from needing God’s help-which is why He hates pride so much! Self-centeredness stems from pride and it often develops when we exchange our intimate, experiential knowledge of God (that’s gained through life experience) for intellectual knowledge of Him (head knowledge only). I remember reading this somewhere and it carries so much truth: “If Christians are not growing into humility-constantly denying themselves and elevating Christ, then they will be swelling up in pride-parading their own image, gifts and anointing. There’s no in between!”
There is a direct correlation between pride and division. Where there is pride, there will definitely be division in friendships/relationships. The bible says “By pride comes nothing but strife“- Proverbs 13:10. Just as pride builds a barrier between us and God, pride also builds up walls in friendships/relationships as well. How beautiful is it when people can give advice to one another, without one person stirring up strife (anger, bitterness, conflict)? When you don’t recognize pride in your life, its hard to repent and ask God to change you. It’s one of those sins that are highly masked and people always overlook it because they don’t want to admit they have it.
I’m sure you have noticed that most people these days are so busy with their own lives, that their genuine love for people is lost. Most of their interactions with people are behind the screen, through social media etc. We often fail to remember that Jesus didn’t lay His life down for us so that we can live like robots. Most people are focused on hustling to make money, in order to live the typical American dream- having a big house, titles to their name, professional career, fancy car, an overflow of finances, lavish wedding, private schooled kids, a white picket fence perhaps…the list goes on. Many have molded their lives to fit the standards of what everyone else deems as #goals! Sometimes their need for God and their dependence on Him does not really exist because they are self sufficient and think they can get to where they want if they work hard. Don’t get me wrong, you should pursue excellence in whatever area God is calling you to, but not with the motivation of calling attention to yourself or to impress others…and definitely not without God. People will have a hard time connecting with you and it will be very difficult to maintain healthy relationships with others. Building relationships, as well as maintaining them, take effort and time and until you can put others before yourself, you really are missing the mark of what Christ is requiring. He came for people, to show them His Father’s love. The bible says love your neighbour as yourself….God already knows that you love yourself a lot, that’s why He requires us to show the same love to others as well. And sadly, that cannot happen if you are busy burning yourself out to try to live the dream that everyone else in this world is also longing to achieve. I am not saying that God does not want to bless you and cause you to prosper, but what I am saying is that the “me,myself, and I” approach of doing everything to succeed at things that don’t matter, is not what God desires of you.
Think about these questions and truly examine your heart on this issue of pride. Each of us can learn a lot about ourselves from these questions: “How often do I apologize?”, “How often do I accept an apology”, “How often do I brag about my accomplishments?”, “How often do I feel the need for others to validate me?”, “How often do I accept when I have done something wrong?”, “How often do I play the victim role?”, “How often do I need to have my voice be heard?”, “How hard is it for me to see the good in others”, “How often do I want people to give me recognition”, “How often do I get on the defense?”, “How often do I need to have the last word?”, “How often do I put others down?”, “How often do I put others last, and put myself first?”, “How often do I think I can do everything on my own?”, “How often do I surrender every part of my life to God?”
Humility is the opposite of pride. Having humility is not about putting yourself down or thinking less of yourself, it is actually about thinking of yourself less. When you are not constantly on your own mind, you will have time to do what God is asking of you as well as putting others before yourself, and thinking of other peoples needs as higher than your own.
Pride only leads to the destruction of our lives and it divides our relationships with others and with God. We need to understand this constant struggle-flesh against spirit, pride against humility-as well as knowing the exact steps to overcome it so that we, like Paul, can reflect Christ’s image and not our own. This means daily recognition, confession and repentance of our sins of pride to the Lord. Always remember that God not only dwells in the high and holy place, He also dwells with those “that are of a contrite and humble spirit” (Isaiah 57:15). His desire is that we humble ourselves! Only He can change you from the inside out, but you have to be willing to let go of what you want and pursue Him!
Lets say this prayer over ourselves and ask God to save us from prideful attitudes on a daily basis because it can definitely show up unexpectedly:
Please come into my heart and soften it. I’m sorry for making You too small in my eyes. I’m sorry for constantly putting myself before others. Please help me live in humility and with the same love for others as Christ has. This life is not about me! I can’t do anything without You and I am nothing without You! You are the sovereign ruler and creator of the world. All the glory belongs to You, and I am sorry if I wanted glory for myself in any area of my life. I am not better than any one else that You have created! I ask that You will show me whenever pride creeps into my life and that You will rebuke it out of me. I don’t want to live like the rest of the world. Only You be exalted and magnified in my life, O God! I ask all these things in Jesus name, Amen!