Last week, we entered into a study on the destructive nature of pride. We saw the dangers and the deceptive nature of this deadly sin, and there can be no mistake that pride is not a trait that a Christian should allow into his or her life.
As a wise man once wrote, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Pro. 16:18).
The Bible is literally FILLED with warnings concerning pride, arrogance, haughtiness, conceit, boasting, etc., and we would be wise to do an intensive “personal inventory” on our own heart to make sure that we have kept pride from infiltrating our lives.
Here are 4 questions that we can ask ourselves that might help:
QUESTION #1 - Do I place my SELF WORTH in something other than Christ?
What gives you confidence? What is your core/true identity? Do you feel good about yourself because of your talents, your job, your friends, or your accomplishments? There may be nothing wrong with having these things in our lives, but if we place our self worth in them, what happens when those things are taken away?
Paul tells the Colossian brethren, “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 3:1-3).
In other words, if we are Christians, our self worth and identity are found in only one place: Christ Jesus! Because of this truth, we are to redirect our thoughts and lives towards the “things that are above.” Despite this instruction, how many of us spend most of our time validating ourselves by seeking the “things that are on earth?”
Pride finds its way into our lives when we lose focus on Christ. Take some time today and make sure that your identity and self worth is in the right place!
QUESTION #2 - Do I feel the need to constantly “prove myself” or “defend myself” to others?
Whose opinion do you really care about?
How comfortable are you in your own skin?
If Christianity is to be believed, we must understand that we will either stand or fall before God on the basis of only one thing: our obedient faith in Jesus Christ.
We were “dead,” (Eph. 2:1) “weak,” (Rom. 5:6) “sinners,” (Rom. 5:8) and “enemies” (Rom. 5:10) when Christ died for us, and there was absolutely nothing we could have done to change our situation.
The only person we need to make sure that we please – ultimately - is our Lord (I Thess. 2:4). Pride is the reason that we feel the constant need to prove, justify, and defend ourselves to anyone else.
As the apostle Paul sometimes demonstrated, we might have to “explain” ourselves at times (2 Cor. 11, for example), but this should be done in humility, with a full assurance of where our hope is actually found!
QUESTION #3 - When I am attacked or criticized, is my first instinct to REACT or to REFLECT?
How do you respond to criticism or correction? Are you quick to react, immediately assuming that your “attacker” is in the wrong? Do you instantly jump to conclusions that may be unfounded, instead of taking time to reflect on what is being said? If so, you may have allowed pride to turn you into your greatest enemy.
I don’t know of anyone who ENJOYS being corrected, but we should be careful not to be pridefully resistant to it. Proverbs 12:1 says, “He who hates reproof is stupid.” Why? Because there is often truth found in correction, and we would be wise to listen to it!
QUESTION #4 - Do I take credit or glory for things that only God should receive credit and glory?
How much credit do you take for the things that God has done in your life?
Several years ago, I spent a short amount of time around a Christian man who gave constant credit/glory to God for everything. If I said, “You did a great job with that lesson,” or even something like, “You have a beautiful family,” he would say, “Praise God.” It was strange, at first, but then I began to appreciate the humility behind it. He didn’t want to take any credit or glory that didn’t belong to him.
What about you and I?
Although we are clearly told, “whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (I Cor. 10:31), we often disobey this command in favor of obtaining our own glory, don’t we? This is a result of pride.
Try this: the next time someone compliments you, praises you, or tells you how great you are, give the glory to God. It will keep you humble, and it will keep pride at bay in your life!
May God help us as we attempt to root out and eliminate pride from our lives so that we can humbly serve Him with confident assurance!