Dwight Fletcher | Tempted by Pride Part II
We culminate our weekly feature on temptations by continuing to look at the mother of them all - pride.
We celebrated the fact that God gives us talents and abilities to use for His glory, and He wants us to do our best. In Galatians 6:4 NIV the Apostle Paul wrote, "... they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else ...". The type of pride that results from a job well done is quite acceptable. But Scriptures warn us about a sinful type of pride that results in vanity, perfectionism, indignation and stubbornness.
God has some very explicit things to say about pride that we need to pay close attention to. Proverbs 6:16 "There are seven things that the Lord hates and cannot tolerate: A proud look ..." (GNT). The writer of Proverbs puts pride first, on God's top seven list of things that he hates. Last week, we also concluded that pride can hinder or destroy our relationships with others, our relationship with God and negatively affect our very lives. As the message translation of Proverbs 16:18 puts it, "First pride, then the crash - the bigger the ego, the harder the fall."
It is sobering to know that God repeatedly warns of the outcome of pride. In Matthew 23:12 (NIV), Jesus put forward a healthier alternative "... those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted." So how do we humble ourselves? How do we navigate the landmine of pride?
1. Confess that You are made by God and for God.
You have to be content that God made you as you are for His purpose. In Genesis 1:27 NIV, it says, "So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them".
You must realise that not only did God create you the way you are but He also created you for a purpose. Ephesians 2:10 ERV says, "... In Christ Jesus, God made us new people so that we would spend our lives doing the good things he had already planned for us to do." God made you as you are; not better than anyone else but uniquely gifted for His specific purposes.
2. Confess your problem with pride to God.
You need to acknowledge that you have a problem with pride. If pride is independence and rebellion from God, then the first step back to Him is confession. 1 John 1:9 NIV says, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." When we make this admission, God through His supernatural power, will decrease our pride and increase our humility. In fact, the very act of confession requires humility, so it can be considered your first move away from pride.
3. Humble yourself before God.
Humility is an everyday action, that removes pride from me and places it in God. It happens when you take your pride that you want to keep for yourself, and you put it at God's feet. Our culture has managed to distort our view of humility and make it appear as if it is something weak. But humility is the ultimate act of strength. When you study leaders throughout the ages, who have modelled humility and have had a positive impact on the world, you will find that their humility was their ultimate strength.
James 4:6-7 NIV says, "God opposes the proud but shows favour to the humble. Submit yourselves, then, to God...". As long as you are prideful, then you are in a place where God resists you. You can instead, choose humility and put yourself in a position where God gives you strength.
4. Set a goal to live a life of decreasing pride and increasing humility.
Keep your eyes fixed and focused on Jesus Christ - He is the ultimate example of humility. Hebrews 12:1-2 GNT. "As for us, we have this large crowd of witnesses around us. So then, let us rid ourselves of everything that gets in the way, and of the sin which holds on to us so tightly, and let us run with determination the race that lies before us. How do we do this? The Bible says. Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from beginning to end. He did not give up because of the cross!
When Jesus was on the cross, it was the ultimate act of humility and love. Jesus went to the cross because of His love for us because in our weakened state of sin He died to set us free. Romans 5:8 NIV, "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
Did you know that an act of humility is bowing your head when you pray? I invite you to bow your head wherever you are today and humbly say to God:
"God, You are God. It's about Your will. It's not about my pride. It's about me finding strength from You. And without You, I'm never going to be able to accomplish anything. God, You are my leader. You are my Lord, and I am humbling myself before You. I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, your Son. Amen."