The Perils of Pride and The Pursuit of Humility
When pride comes, then comes shame, but with the humble is wisdom. Proverbs 11:2 nkjv. Before destruction the heart of a man is haughty, and before honor is humility. Proverbs 18:12 nkjv. The pride of your heart has deceived you, you who dwell in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high; you who say in your heart, who will bring me down to the ground? Though you ascend as high as the eagle, and you set your nest among the stars, from there I will bring you down, say’s the Lord. Obadiah 1:3-4 nkjv. The word ‘Pride’ is mentioned 49 times in the King James Bible. What is pride? Why was it so important that it was mentioned so many times in the Bible? Where does pride come from, and how do we as Christians rid ourselves of it?
Pride by definition, is a feeling or deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from ones own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired. Pride also means the quality of having an excessively high opinion of oneself or one’s importance. Over time pride has partly become synonymous with being gay, i.e. gay pride. One day I went on Google searching for pictures for a blog post I was doing on pride, and not really to my surprise, there were many images of the annual LGBT Pride Parade and other parades celebrating gay pride. Among images of lions and films which included the title pride, there were rainbow flags and people holding up signs about gay rights. This is even more of a reason why we as Christians should not even want pride to be named among us.
It is amazing how the enemy will take things that were once equated as something good and turn it into something inappropriate. Gay once meant being happy and jolly, now it’s taken on a more degenerate meaning. Rainbows were symbolic to the promise God made after the flood, now it has also been pinned to a sexually immoral lifestyle contrary to Gods way. It seems to be the devils way to take something God has created, create a mirror image of it, or simply take what was already there and twists its meaning and teach the world that his lies are the correct way, and the way the Lord intended is the incorrect way, all of that sends many into confusion. The enemy is the author of confusion, no wonder people fall into many of his snares.
There are a lot of ways pride can manifest itself, one way can be through boastfulness upon acquiring material things. Many of us are guilty of wanting to flash around our new possessions, like a new car or house, or a promotion. I wonder if some ever think of the dangers a person can bring upon themselves when flashing their new things around certain folks. You never know what the enemy may put in the mind of a co-worker, or even someone you consider a friend. These same persons may be the ones that plot against you and have you robbed, or hope harm comes your way out of jealousy. This is not to say it is wrong to be happy about a new promotion, especially if you earned it. Okay, honestly, if you worked super hard, even overtime and you received that raise or promotion that you got so excited you could scream it from the hilltops, who could really blame you. But do you really have to flaunt around like a peacock? It also doesn’t mean if you purchase a certain car or a new home in an upscale area that you’re evil incarnate, you’re not. But of course, what the contents of your heart reveals to God about how you truly feel toward those material things is a whole other matter in and of itself.
Making a show of yourselves with your possessions is unwise, because not everyone is glad to see you achieve something, and just out of your boasting about your achievements or material things, the enemy may take opportunity in that to stir up evil in the hearts of those around you.
Just before the Israelites were taken into captivity by the Chaldeans of Babylonia, the king of Israel at the time showed off all the sacred treasured possessions of the people of Israel that were in the temple. Shortly after that, the Chaldeans returned and took every thing, all the gold and silver and chariots and every valued possession passed down from generation to generation among the Israelites, down to every cup, spoon and bowl. See, when God warns us about pride and being boastful it is all out of love, and with our best interest in mind. God is aware of what can happen when one becomes boastful.
Many long for popularity, to be the belle of the ball, and instead of giving God the glory, many seek it for themselves. So, many people search for acceptance or validation by the things they possess, but to our living God we are of great value even if we don’t have a single penny, even more evidence of His perfect love.
Some people can get caught up in the pride of life and not even know it. I have seen many musicians who claim to be Christians and are in the music industry to spread the gospel, conduct themselves in ways that are not worthy of the Gospel. Many go on about their possessions and put way more energy and focus into writing that next “radio friendly” hit and making those big bucks. Ultimately, making money and becoming famous for many Gospel artists takes precedence over spreading the Gospel undiluted, whether inadvertent or not, it happens. Coming clean about it will lead more to the path of overcoming it as suppose to covering it up and thinking no one will notice. Well, many people have noticed and it’s negatively affecting how many perceive Christians.
Reaching celebrity status is in the hearts of many. Even when they don’t share it, many are more fixated on becoming famous than really putting God and the truth on the forefront. All of which brings the sincerity they have for spreading the Gospel into question. Not every Christian musician is like that however, a lot are actually very sincere and have been anointed with the ability to spread the gospel through music. For those who have been caught up in the snares the enemy have set in the music industry for many young talented believers, remember what you were called for, to spread the Gospel of peace, not to try and catapult yourself into some self-aggrandizing light by doing questionable things you know are not pleasing to God. Questionable thing’s such as; deciding to show more skin, or to change lyrics around to sound more appealing in such a way it ends up feeding ones flesh as suppose to the Spirit.
If at any point you find yourself using the Gospel as a means of selfish gain and not sincerely to try and get more to truly understand the urgency of repenting and taking up your cross and following our the Lord Jesus Christ, then you will be exposed. For His eyes are on the ways of man, and He sees all his steps. There is neither darkness nor shadow of death where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves. Job 34:21-22 nkjv. As that famous quote goes, you can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time. I think we should all pray for those we know and have seen start off with good intentions but have gradually become corrupted by their surroundings, entangled by the pride of life. Many say they are pursing success, but really which standard of success are they pursuing, God’s or the world?
Compromising what we know is right in order to be accepted is not good. If you’re a person fully sold out for Christ Jesus, there will be people that won’t like you very much and trying to be a friend of the world and a servant of the Lord can be very taxing on the Spirit, truthfully you cannot be both. Friendship with the world is enmity with God, James 4:4. It’s strange really, why this seems to be the nature of so many, wanting to please everybody in the world, to be liked by everyone, but not taking into consideration what God thinks of us, not caring very much about pleasing Him.
No human will be liked by everyone, once you have come to that realization you can get about the business of pleasing the Lord by keeping His commandments, and embracing how you will become a peculiar creature here on earth once you begin following Christ. Your way of thinking and desires will change from the majorities way of thinking, and perhaps in some circles you may stick out a bit because of you’re uncompromising persona and Christ like attributes and that is fine. It is God who we should aim to please, trying to live peaceably and be loving to all when and where we can of course, but at the same time remembering it is God we ought to focus on pleasing. It is Him who will supply us with the nonperishable crown, not man, but God.
Why do so many people try to buy friends then go on about nobody being real around them? What do you expect when you purchased someone’s affection; eventually that individual’s true colours will emerge. Why do so many people not seem to perceive how a friendship or relationship will pan out with a person who was drawn to them solely because of their possessions? I see many men do it a lot, and when the woman decides to take leave they wonder why. The same thing that drew her to you, when it is all gone, will draw her to someone else. I guess it all boils down to instant gratification. So many people not wanting to put in the work in order to develop something lasting but want the rewards of it immediately, which can go for different types of relationships. Folk’s pursuing ungodly things and say it is God’s will, seems to be the way of many persons. This type of logic can only come from the enemy.
Where does pride come from though? I think it’s just one of the way’s sin manifests its way into a person’s life. We were all born sinners and therefore susceptible to many of the different way’s sin manifests its way into our lives. The Bible says, knowledge puffs up but love edifies, 1 Corinthians 8:1 nkjv. So, even after obtaining a measure of knowledge from our Father, we mustn’t allow the Devil to take opportunity in our achievements to make us boastful.
Many friendships have been destroyed because of one or the other trying to preserve their pride. We’ve all had occasions where we knew we were wrong about something and being so prideful we didn’t want to humble ourselves and apologize. The other day a friend of mine was telling me how so much can be lost when we allow pride to overcome us. Something so small can snowball into something huge simply because we refuse to swallow our pride and say the words, I’m sorry please forgive me I was wrong. Pride is one of those trees that bear bitter fruits, like arrogance, boastfulness, haughtiness, conceit, vanity and so on. God doesn’t want anything to do with these things or people who partake in such things. We are called to be Holy like Him.
There are those occasions where you may be in need, but end up remaining in need because of not wanting to go and seek help where the Lord has sent you, because you don’t want anyone to know you have need, I’ve been guilty of this. Perhaps, it may be because you have been displaying a persona of someone who has it all, and doesn’t need anyone for so long you started to really believe there would never be a day when you would need someone’s help. There are even those occasions when persons don’t even want to humble themselves before God and ask Him for help. I know a guy who shared some of his problems with me and I said to him, why don’t you pray about, God can help you, and He wants to hear from you. The guy said very matter-of-fact, oh I don’t need to do that. We weren’t made to be self-sufficient, that was evident from the Garden of Eden when God created Eve. If indeed we did not need anyone, we would have no need for God, which we do. No matter what possessions you have or how much of an intellect you think you may be that you can maneuver throughout life splendidly all alone, we all need each other, most importantly we need God.
We cannot obtain humility without the assistance of God. We should pursue humility just as we ought to pursue righteousness. The Bible said in the last day’s people will become lovers of themselves, 2 Timothy 3:1-9, and that is very true. Look around your workplace, schools, churches and so on, and you will see for yourselves. People are being taught to love themselves instead of loving others, lovers of money, boasters, prideful, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of what is good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, and one I am very familiar with in my country, having a form of godliness but denying its power .
Jesus specifically said to love one another the way He loves us, it isn’t easy always, in fact there are occasions where it seems much easier to say you hate someone than to show them love, because they may have hurt you in some way or angered you in some way, but the Holy Spirit is there to help us to overcome evil with good, to help us to show love when it seems difficult. Although it may appear difficult at times, those are the times where we expected even more than ever to show love, from a sincere heart and a pure conscience. It would profit you to love those who hate you, Matthew 5:43-48.
So many are blinded by these new age, new world, anti-Christ standards the world is polluting the minds of this generation with. People care more about their own happiness than that of others, having complete disdain to that which we are called to do, Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interest of others, Philippians 2:4.
As I wrote this I thought back on the instances where I have been very prideful, I had to learn the hard way. I knew better but still didn’t do what I should have. Now I make my best effort to do what is expected of me as follower of Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit helping me to achieve this of course. I also have to give all the glory and thanks and praise to God for His mercy on me and compassion, and for the aid He provide for us through His Holy Spirit, to assist us in the trying times.
God has supplied each one of us with the tools to defeat these strongholds, and that tool is prayer. I find myself having to pray a lot to be cautious of things I say and how I react to certain things and not being boastful even about performing my duties as a Christian, which many do and don’t realize it. Every now and again we can all use a big slice of “humble pie”, better that than to spend your eternity wishing you did. Remember to ask God daily for guidance, it will take some humility on your part, but it’s worth it.