A while back I heard a sermon from a friend of mine that opened my eyes to what we often regard as a respectable sin- pride. Even now each of our own individual senses of pride are probably scrambling to defend themselves, but if scripture is true (and we know it is) then we must pay close attention to verses like Proverbs 16:5, “The Lord detests the proud of heart,” and James 4:6, “The Lord opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
So this sermon I heard, it struck me, it struck me pretty hard. And since then I have kept the notes from that sermon on the bulletin board by my desk as a reminder to watch out for pride, for it is subtle and deadly. I had a conversation with a friend of mine at the gas station this morning that reminded me of this message, and so I wanted to share it with all of you because we all need to watch out for it.
The Fruits of Pride: Want to know if pride has crept in? Take a look at each of these areas where it is easy to see how pride manifests itself.
1. In my dealings with God…
I give myself credit. I tend to be self-righteous. I often feel ungrateful. I don’t often do what I know God desires. When repenting, I am very general and not specific. I don’t like giving God control of certain areas of my life. I hate being convicted of everything.
2. In my dealings with myself…
I am self-serving. I often feel insecure. I am self-critical. I don’t need accountability for my words or actions. I find myself wallowing in self-pity. I tend to have a know-it-all attitude. I think that I am humble already.
3. In my dealings with others…
I interrupt people regularly. I find it hard to be open and honest with others. I find it hard to admit when I don’t know something or when I am wrong. I resent people who try to correct me. I have a hard time cooperating with others because I want things done my way. I tend to be critical of others. I want others to be impressed with me. I like to talk about myself or what I am involved with. I don’t like listening to others. When facing failure, my initial response is to blame others. I feel special or superior because of who I am or what I have or do (my house, neighborhood, my physical or spiritual giftings, my intellect, being a Christian, my position, my job, my education, my car, salary, looks, race, church, nationality, experience, my walk with God).
The remedy to this isn’t to wallow around in pity, to deflect and point out the problems of others, or to get offended that scripture brought it up… there is only one remedy to this problem- “Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will lift you up.” (James 4:10). Humility is seeing the vast difference between God’s holiness and my own, our own, sinfulness. God help us, and by His grace He will.