How does pride manifest itself in your life? Have you ever felt entitled to something? Have you ever completed an assignment, gone the extra mile, yet everyone got the credit? You want your reputation to be esteemed by others. You thrive on recognition. You love to always be right. What does pride masquerade as in you: confidence, sarcasm, fashion, or commitment to excellence. This is a harder question because we might not even see these things as pride. We might just say we are confident in what we do when the truth is we are arrogant. We might say we are committed to high quality work, when in reality it is all about having our name known among others. We might say we just like the finer fashions in life, but secretly it is because we want everyone looking and talking about us. This list could continue on and on. I would encourage you to spend some time on these two questions. More than likely, we will all have a list that is not attractive.
In a recent sermon I heard Andy Stanley preach he said:
“Pride always diminishes you.
Pride crowds others out.
Pride deprioritizes others
Pride crowds God out.
Pride creates a prison in which you cannot exit.
All these things are true because prideful people seek what is best for them
(sometimes under false pretense of what is best for others)
When we are exercising pride we are puffing ourselves up with our own knowledge, ability, and self worth. This means we are diminishing God in our life. These things are in direct disagreement with what scripture says.
Philippians 2:5 Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. 5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! 9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, ……..
In this verse we are to have the same mindset as Christ. Although Christ was man, He could have elevated His power as God, but instead submitted Himself as a servant. Have you ever thought about this statement? Jesus was really the most important person in the room everywhere He went, but He refused to claim that status rather, He acted as a servant. He would not exercise His rights because God did not send Him to elevate Himself, but to set an example of servant hood. I find it fascinating that no where in the bible does it state Jesus had to be humbled, yet He was always willing to submit to His Father’s will. What if we took on the mindset of Christ and were always willing to submit to God’s will? What if instead of always trying to get ahead, make a name for our self, or prove we are right, we willfully submitted to God? We often think we do not have to forgive someone, or do not have to serve someone because they have wronged us. I have bad news there are no excuses. If Jesus submitted Himself under His Father’s authority even unto death, we have no excuse for un-forgiveness, or unwillingness to serve those who have hurt us. This has been one of the hardest things for me to read in this passage- there is never an excuse! Jesus did not want to die on a barbaric cross. He prayed for His Father to take the cup from Him. I think we overlook the fact that Jesus felt everything just as a normal man would on the cross. He felt the painful thorns pressing in his head, the spear ripping into his side, thirst as the sun baked His body, and despair as His Father turned away from Him. Do you fully realize that He sacrificed everything, not just His body, but also separation? He endured hours of excruciating separation from His Father, that He had never known. How can we then think we could come up with any excuse that would hold weight with God?
The truth today is we often have to be humbled by God because we are not willing to submit to him freely. Sometimes we experience painful situations in our life simply because of our own pride.
Andy Stanley made this statement: An invitation from God to follow Him- is an invitation to un-follow you.
I have often wrestled with the issue of pride in my life. Recently, I felt convicted of not being able to leave a situation behind me. It seemed like no matter how many times I laid it on the altar it would sprout legs and come find me. I decided to make a list of all the things I felt concerning the situation. It was definitely not a list for show and tell because it was ugly. There I stared at a piece of paper that told what my true feelings were about this particular situation. The key to being set free is to truly see things in your life as God sees them. As I looked at the paper, I could see how those things were negatives that were separating me from God. As I read over and over different verses like these I knew that I could either let this situation hold me tight, or I had to get a mindset of Christ. God reminded me of a verse in the Bible that says He will bring beauty from ashes. I took that piece of paper and burned it in my fire pit. I prayed the prayer that I knew God could take those ashes that were ugly and marred and restore peace to my heart. Later that morning I went to my bible study and these were the first words spoken “God never allows or appoints a fire unless he can bring beauty from the ashes.” God is so good in the way he meets us where we are, but assures us He will not leave us there.
Chad and I were having a conversation the other day about this subject. I said to him, “How have we learned so much about God and ourselves in such a short time?” We have been Christians over half our lives, but I just feel like God has put us in a crash course with Him recently. He responded with a smile and said “we have stopped listening to what everybody else wants and expects from us, and have turned our eyes to the only one that matters.” God has literally set us free in so many areas of our lives. We have found that if we are running after Him with our whole heart that it more than likely won’t make sense to those around us. We will continually be working on issues of pride our whole lives, but we are thankful for the promise that God will help us if we are willing.
Is your pride holding you back from knowing the true Freedom of your Lord and Savior? Is pride holding you back from apologizing, asking for forgiveness, giving forgiveness, being a servant, or just having peace? When pride tries to raise its ugly head we can ask our selves these questions: What would Jesus’ mindset be in this situation? What does love require me to do?