When the Bible talks about pride, it’s always in the context of sin. For good reason, pride is noted as the sin that caused the fall of Satan. God’s word is very clear about what He thinks of pride.
God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble. (James 4:6)
Beth Moore, in her book Praying God’s Word, says, “I know one thing from personal experience: humbling ourselves is far less painful than inviting God to humble us.”
I know this is true because lately God has been humbling me.
I don’t know when it happened. It wasn’t like I woke up one morning overcome with pride in myself or my job, but it managed to sneak in. Slowly, life got busy and I stopped spending as much time praying and preparing before teaching. Twice I was asked at the last minute to preach on a Sunday morning (in our main service). I just started to think that I could prepare great teachings on my own with little help from God.
I’m a pastor after all. In Christian terms, that means “I’ve arrived,” right?
God didn’t like my attitude. He kept trying to get my attention, but I was “too busy” to stop and listen. Then He did something about it.
One Sunday after church, I met with our leadership students, our last meeting before summer, and asked them what they’d learned about God and leadership. Many of them gave good answers and things were going well.
Then one student very bluntly stated that she hadn’t learned anything.
My stomach dropped and I felt a shriveling sensation in my chest, but I took a deep breath and said, “That’s okay,” and we moved on.
It was embarrassing.
A couple of days later I received a text message from another student, verifying that leadership was indeed over for the summer. I said it was and asked why. This student said she wanted to know because she was thinking about leaving the youth group. No reason was given.
More bad feelings in my stomach and more deep breathing.
Finally, a third student, in whom I’d invested a great deal of personal time, made an understandable decision, but handled it in a way that could’ve been better. Some of the issues involved were things we’d talked about multiple times. The way the decision was handled, however, made it seem as if all of our conversations never happened.
It made me feel like the time I’d spent with this student hadn’t meant anything.
I finally broke. I asked God: “If students aren’t learning or listening and want to leave, then why did you bring me to this job? Why have You allowed a situation where most of the pastoral work is falling on me right now?”
Then I asked a more important question: “God, what’s the point of my life now?”
You see, girls, pride is sneaky. It turns our life into a series of routines and God is about miracles, not routines. Pride causes us to forget that without God we’re nothing more than the dust that animals walk on. Pride tells us we can do things without God.
When God breaks pride in your life, things get painful really fast. For days, I waited with my confidence mangled, asking God my questions.
Finally, He gave me an answer. My life was never about any of the stuff I do. It isn’t supposed to be about the things I teach, how many people I mentor or how many times I preach on a Sunday.
Other people are never a waste of my time because they’re never a waste of God’s time.
Making my life about me is like making my life about dust. It’s worthless.
Jesus described the purpose of my life best when He said to love the Lord with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength, and to love others at least as much as I love myself.
Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling. It is better to be humble in spirit with the lowly than to divide the spoil with the proud. (Proverbs 16:18-19)
Girls, have you ever struggled with pride?
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