Gonna be real (for really real) with you here... I have struggled with pride a good portion of my life, often disguised as false humility. I think we all do at some point, in some form or fashion.
For me, pride can manifest itself in many ways:
- Shyness: I’m too worried about what people think of me to really be “myself”.
- Hardness of heart: I won't humble myself and be the first to apologize and ask for forgiveness.
- Recovering know-it-all: I pretend to have all the answers.
- Avoiding evangelism: I’m afraid of rejection, what people will say or think, or losing a relationship.
- Avoiding relationships: I’m afraid of gossip, losing a friendship in the future, or not being “good enough” for someone.
First of all, did you notice how many times I mentioned “me, myself, and I”? Did you also notice how many times I used the words “worried”, “afraid”, and “avoiding”?
Have you found that the more you focus on yourself, the more depressed and fearful you get? Why is that? It’s because you are looking in the mirror at someone who fails daily, instead of keeping your gaze fixed on Jesus, the One who is infinitely able to do all things.
Ephesians 3:20-21 says, “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”
Know that Satan's tactic is to stir up pride in us (he is an expert on pride, right?). Pride leads to fear and depression, which will isolate us and make us more vulnerable to his attacks, pushing us further from the Lord. We must recognize pride in our lives and squash it!
Say I had an old beater car that sometimes started, but usually just smoked, sputtered, and leaked oil everywhere. And say someone gave me a brand new car every morning, guaranteed not to fail. Which car should I hop in? Of COURSE! The brand new car should be my choice EVERY time! But so often, I choose the beater car, and I smoke and sputter down the road of life, attempting to do things on my own. What a waste of time and effort.
There is a better Way -- the ONLY Way.
We are not sufficient on our own. The only One who is absolutely sufficient is Jesus. And if we have given our lives to Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we have HIS very Spirit living within us. We have access to that “brand new car” (the power of the Holy Spirit) that will get us anywhere we need to go, within God’s will, of course. His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23). Why do we so often settle for less and try to do things in our own strength??
The answer to our self-absorbed society really is simple. All we need to do is put our eyes on Jesus and not ourselves. Spend time with Him. Be in His Word. Develop a relationship with the One who created YOU. You are not an accident. You are here by design. You have a purpose, and that purpose is to glorify God and have a relationship with Him. If you are a believer, you have a part in the body of Christ.
As we spend more time with Jesus, we will become more like Him. As we become more like Him, we will seem smaller and smaller compared to His greatness. We will want to put others before ourselves. We will naturally find ourselves wanting to serve others. We won’t get our feelings hurt when someone says something they shouldn’t have. In fact, we won’t even CARE what others think of us, because we will know that our identity is in Christ alone.
All that matters is what He thinks of us -- and guess what?
He loves you so much that He created you for the very purpose of having a relationship with you.
Just like a good father would want to develop a relationship with his child, God wants that with you. You are valued in Christ’s eyes. You are worth Jesus’ own precious blood that He sacrificed for you on the cross.
As we shift our perspectives and realize just how very valuable we are to our Heavenly Father, we should be humbled. That pride -- the thought that I am "something" on my own -- should fall away. Go outside at night and take a few moments to wonder at the greatness of the sky above you. God created the heavens, the universe, and all that is within them. He created billions of stars and galaxies, and yet He chooses to love ME and YOU. Psalm 147:4-5 says, “He counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by name. Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite.”
Wow... Why did I think I was so great, again?? My gifts, talents, achievements, personality, possessions -- all those things are not because of me, but because of Him. He is the One who gave me breath, after all.
Let’s not forget our place. He is God. We are not.