Look at what I have Built.
When I think about pride and selfishness, two figures come to my mind. King Nebuchadnezzar and the rich fool (Luke 12:13-21). These men had acquired so much in their lives: prestige, wealth, you name it. At one point, they both opened their mouths to utter words of praise for their hard work, resilience, and intellect. God in heaven was listening and passed a judgment. King Nebuchadnezzar was dethroned while the rich fool died that very same night. We, too, sometimes forget that all we have and what we are belongs to God. The earth and all that is in it belongs to the Lord (Psalms 24:1). Pride is a weed that grows without notice like weeds grow on the farm. Sometimes we do see its symptoms, and we brush them off as being irrelevant. The monster of pride slides quietly, and it’s very hard to diagnose even for the person sick with it.
The problem with pride.
Once this disease spreads through our body, it infects our eyesight. Like King Nebuchadnezzar, we see ourselves through tinted lenses. You will be surprised when you meet a proud person, and they identify with being the most humble person in the room. Ironically, the humble person often thinks they are proud. According to most surveys, over 90% of the respondents consider themselves to be above average. It takes the great physician Jesus Christ to reveal these hidden symptoms. John Stott wrote, “At every stage of our Christian development and in every sphere of our Christian discipleship, pride is the greatest enemy and humility our greatest friend.”
God hates pride. The Bible promises the proud that they can never go unpunished (Proverbs 16:5). He excitedly gives favor and grace to the humble. Pride is also repellant to anything that exalts the name of God. With subtle remarks and self-righteousness, the proud say in their heart that there is no God. The psalmist calls it a haughtiness of his face; it is almost like he is snubbing God while proclaiming, “catch me if you can, God is dead anyway.” (Psalms 10:4). A proud person forgets that in their forfeit of God’s wisdom, their end is usually a thunderous fall. Then probably you are asking, “how do we deal with this problem of pride?”.
We will highlight a few easy ways to remember tips that will help us battle the monster of pride in our walk of faith.
- Keep a short account.
Walking a dog becomes easy when you use a short leash. In this same way, a believer, through the help of the Holy Spirit, must keep short accounts with God if they are to win the battle of pride. This is the first step to a life of humility. The Bible recites a vivid picture of what happens when a person gets close to God. Peter cried for his sinful ways, Isaiah repented of his sins and the people around him, and Job despised himself while repenting in dust and ashes (Job 42:5-6). We all never think we are great sinners until we encounter the pure holiness of the living God. Our pride is what made God deem us qualified to be redeemed by the sacrificial act of Jesus on the cross. Confess your sins to the Lord today, and He will forgive you.
- Give God the Credit
The Corinthian church is one that had a love-hate relationship with total surrender to God. Paul had to remind them many times that they were stewards and not owners of their lives. This revelation will bring you and me to understand that God chooses us and not the other way round. He woke us from the death of sin and gave us access to eternal life. When we understand this, then and only then will pride be severed from the root. We will put our beautiful talents, intelligence, beautiful looks, wit, influence, pedigree, education, and every other distinctive attribute of success away to give the Lord praise (1 Corinthians 4:7). This goes both ways; if we consider ourselves significant, we will put aside pride, and if we deem ourselves small will put away despair and embrace God’s gift in our lives.
Joseph stayed in prison for a lengthy time. The complex dream provided an opportunity that his master, Pharaoh, had. When asked whether he would interpret the hidden meaning, he claimed no credit to himself. “I cannot do it,” Joseph replied to Pharaoh, “but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.” (Genesis 41:16). Our competence comes from God and Him alone. Give God credit due Him.
- Remember The Cross.
If there is anything for a believer to boast about, then it’s the cross. D. Martyn Lloyd Jones wrote: “There is only one thing I know of that crushes me to the ground and humiliates me to the dust, and that is to look at the Son of God and especially contemplate the cross.” The crucifixion of Jesus can cut us down to size when we are full of contempt and pride. Our salvation is not a merit-based achievement. We did nothing. Left to us, we would not even choose God.
Yet, the eyes of Jesus are full of love for us. There is no greater love than this that a man should lay down his life for the sake of his friends. He has loved you with an everlasting love; His love will never fail. If we go through the waters, He is there, and they will not overcome us. When we walk through the fire, it will not consume us because He that sleeps is keeping watch over us. This is cause enough to consider our salvation and be humble.
The old rugged cross gladly bore our shame, guilt, pride, sickness, and suffering. Alan Jackson reminds us that until we lay our trophies for the cross, we can not exchange them someday for a crown. When you realize the seed of pride has taken root in your life, remember the cross, and you will be humbled.
- Submit to God’s word.
The word of God is living and active; it means what it says. It is quick and powerful with the ability to cut through our soul and spirit, exposing and laying on the open our thoughts and the intent of our hearts (Hebrews 4:12). Nothing is impervious to the extended hand of God’s word. It is the mouthpiece through which we understand the ways of the Lord and grow more in stature to be like Christ. Out of everything God has created and everything that exists, God looks to the one who is poor, of a contrite heart, and who trembles at His word.
Paul writes to Timothy to beware of those who teach false doctrines and disagree with the godly instruction of the Lord Jesus Christ. Such a person is conceited, proud, and knows nothing. We can not choose and cherry-pick, re-interpret God’s word to fit our desires. We can not be only obsessed with arguments and controversies. This not only disqualifies our humility but it elevates us over God. However, submitting to God’s word allows us to be corrected, rebuked, taught, and trained in righteousness so that we may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. Humility is glad to affirm the authority of God’s word to influence our actions and beliefs.
- Give others Preference Over yourself.
Out of the rest of the tips, this is the hardest one to pull off. We think so highly of ourselves that we even choose who to value and consider better than ourselves. When James wrote that God hates favoritism, I quickly passed this command to our church elders. I felt that such opportunities to favor people based on their wealth were outside my domain. It was until we went out for evangelism and realized that I was picky; I prayed with those who looked like they could be saved. Thank God I am not God. At this level, most of us are exposed to the rotten pride present in our lives.
The Pharisees are usually the villains in any story told about Jesus. They wondered what Jesus had to do with the poor, the sick, the tax collectors, and the lepers. Did you know that 80% of unbelievers do not have a single friend who is a born-again Christian? Brethren, the commandments are summarised into love for God and love for neighbor. Yes, you genuinely love God, and your humility before Him is vindicated. Let’s take a halt and think, though: when was the last time you considered your neighbors before yourself.
Rejoice when God exalts others. Who will trust you with much when you have been unfaithful with very little. If you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, no one will trust you with your own property. Love is kind, it is not self-seeking, and it does not dishonor others. Our ambitions are tested by our willingness to let others succeed.