Years ago, I worked with a woman that had quite the personality. She was one of those people who knew everything and would insist on telling you about it.
Then, she would proceed to tell me exactly how I should do things (her way) and why it was a good idea.
To be honest, I got pretty good at the nod and smile (a great option for awkward situations!), and then went about my business, disregarding her unsolicited advice.
When I think of “pride,” or someone who has a pride issue, I usually think of just such a person, or a “me monster” (see below) - someone who can’t stop talking about themselves and their own accomplishments.
The problem is, I rarely categorized myself as someone who deals with pride.
Until this year.
Through a series of gracious events, I’ve slowly realized that I had built much of my identity on being a good person. That may not sound so bad, which makes it all the more sinister.
This lie of self-righteousness opened the door for pride to build a stronghold in my life.
According to Webster’s dictionary, pride is defined as, “a feeling or deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one's own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired.”
I would like to define it as confidence or security in one’s own self. That includes self-righteousness, accomplishments, skills, personality, strengths, giftings, etc. Some people can also find pride in their weaknesses, sins, tragedies, shortcomings, and impairments.
See, pride has two very opposite expressions. The first is arrogance and puffing yourself up. The other is insecurity and anxiety, because self is still the source, the focus. Pride produces a lot of pressure either way.
I believe pride is one of the biggest traps that satan uses to ensnare the body of Christ, and it's time to get free. Not today, satan!
How do we know if we have pride in our hearts? What do we do with it if we find it there?
James 4:6 says, “God is opposed to the proud and haughty, but [continually] gives [the gift of] grace to the humble [who turn away from self-righteousness].”
- Ask God to reveal any sin in your heart. Psalm 51 is a fantastic chapter. It would do us all some good to hang out there for awhile. This is what David wrote after he committed adultery and murdered a man. Verses 6-7 read, “Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being, And in the hidden part [of my heart] You will make me know wisdom. Purify me with [a]hyssop, and I will be clean; Wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.” God is faithful to show us if our hearts are ensnared in pride. And then, when we repent, He will cleanse us! Best news ever!
- Allow the Word to expose any lies we believe. If you become aware of some pride, find some verses on pride/humility and ask the Lord to reveal any lies you believe. Man, I was shocked at some of the lies I was swallowing! I discovered that I believed that God looked for a “special” quality in people that He was going to use. I truly thought that if I tried hard enough, I too could become special, and that then He would be pleased with me. NOT TRUE. This great message on the Father of the Faith (Father's Day 2016) shows how Abram (THE man of faith in the Bible) was a DEVIL WORSHIPPER when God picked him out of everyone to be in relationship with. WHAT?! It’s true. God chooses us because He is Good, not because of a secret “special” quality that we need to have or earn. Striving in our own strength to earn God's favor is a dangerous form of pride.
- Keep choosing the Truth and walk it out. It takes some work to change our thinking. I will occasionally find myself falling back into old thinking patterns, and I have to take the reins and redirect my thoughts on His Truth. Keep walking it out by playing umpire with your thoughts, and Truth will be established in your heart and mind.
- Pursue Humility. Christ is the perfect example of coming low and embracing humility. This leaves no room for pride to enter in. Philippians 2 says this: "5 Have this same attitude in yourselves which was in Christ Jesus [look to Him as your example in selfless humility]…” Paul then goes on to describe what Christ’s humility looks like. Examine it. Imitate it. This is really hard, especially when peopling. To let go of our rights and our ways and our position FORCES us to put our trust and confidence in the Lord. We don’t need to establish our own worth or our own way. God has already done that for us.
Not sure if you have a pride problem? Take some time to examine your heart. Have you struggled with pride in your heart? Be open about it with God. Jesus can help with that.
If you want further resources on humility, I’m currently reading “Humility and Absolute Surrender” by Andrew Murray.
This fun video on the “Me Monster” makes me laugh every time. Don’t be that guy: