Although this post is tough for me to write, I believe it is necessary. Perhaps it will cultivate a deeper sense of humility for me, or it may exhort your individual hearts to learn from my mistakes. Today I am writing about pride, my own personal struggle with pride.
“I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.” Romans 7:15 NLT
In June 2012, the Lord and I took a morning stroll next to a quaint and gentle stream to talk about my upcoming year as a 29 year old. As a birthday tradition, I try to reserve a small amount of time to hang out with Jesus and hear His heart for the upcoming year. While we talked, Jesus began sharing some incredible, mind-boggling visions concerning my upcoming future, a future that He was calling me into within the next several years.
In all honesty, the specifics He shared were hard for me to grasp as reality, so I eagerly requested that He share more. Yet, as my loving Father, He instead spoke cautionary words that pierced my innermost parts as convicting, powerful truth concerning my sinful nature: “Beware of pride, Christy. Protect yourself against it and you will be incredibly fruitful.”
“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” Jeremiah 33:3 NIV
“My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline,and do not resent his rebuke,because the Lord disciplines those he loves,as a father the son he delights in.” Proverbs 3:11-12 NIV
Essentially, He was telling me that a prideful spirit is an unteachable spirit. And that is dangerous, beloved.
Allow me to share with you what Jesus has shared with me about some mistakes I have been prone to making over the past several weeks:
1. As His beloved, if we ever approach individuals with the intent to change them (forcefully pushing our own agenda) rather than carefully listening to them, we will come across as controlling, manipulative, and arrogant. We must be proactively gentle and lowly in heart. Pride is harsh and condemning, while humility is gentle and kind.
“Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.” Philippians 2:3-7
2. If we’re convinced that we know everything, but someone else tries to relate some new knowledge or understanding to us, we can become defensive (or lofty) and reply with what amounts to a counterattack. We treat what should be a respectful conversation as an intense debate. We become slow to listen and quick to speak. When our hearts aren’t open to learning (or even just hearing what others have to share, regardless of whether we agree with it), we are welcoming pride by esteeming our own thoughts or opinions higher than theirs.
Do we believe that Jesus would do this to us? Just cut us off in mid-sentence because what we’re saying is contrary to His truth? I don’t think so – Jesus is gentle and respectful (even when He’s right and we’re wrong).
“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.” Proverbs 12:15
“A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.” Proverbs 18:2
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32
Perhaps the most devastating result of this example is that we aren’t open to growth through learning. We could have possibly matured from someone else’s wisdom, but instead we push people away. In turn, that person feels devalued since they cannot openly share their opinion in an open and relaxed environment.
3. Sometimes, we can boast about ministerial, corporate, or leadership accomplishments through the cover of false humility (we may try to excuse by saying something like, “It’s all because of Jesus”). When this happens, we are actually filling a place within our hearts with the approval of people, which is insignificant eternally. Personally, I’m guilty of leveraging arrogance (the prideful act of glorifying my own talents and experiences) to win the approval of man (A.K.A. – the fear of man).
When we do struggle to be noticed, we can sin as we turn our affection away from the Holy One. Yet, we do not need to act this way. None of us actually have anything to boast about because everything good has come from God. And people serving in ministry (or any capacity) especially need to guard their hearts against this.
“As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.” James 4:16
“For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?” 1 Corinthians 4:7
“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13
Your purpose will never lie in what you do; it’s in what Jesus has done. And your work will never give you significance or identity; Christ has given you your identity. This mindset requires the intentional choice of meditating on His truth daily.
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17
Join me tomorrow as I share what the Lord has specifically taught me about keeping my heart purposefully humble. Have a blessed day, beloved. Thank you for reading His Daily Dose today!
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