Merriam-Webster’s dictionary lists one of its definitions of “pride” as “a feeling that you are more important or better than other people.” That feeling of superiority can manifest itself in different ways – from putting down other people that you deem “less than,” to an unwillingness to admit you’re wrong and apologize. The Bible speaks in numerous places about the detrimental effects of pride. Proverbs 16:18 (KJV) says, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” In 1 John 2:16 (KJV), the Bible says, “…the pride of life – is not from the Father but is from the world.” From both the natural and spiritual perspectives, there are many reasons to avoid the temptation of pride. I want to examine a few areas where you may not even realize that pride has crept up on you, and help give you ways to avoid having it settle in.
Don’t let what you do, define who you are.
Once you’ve worked hard to achieve a certain position, a certain level of status, get a business off the ground, you should be proud of your accomplishments. You should celebrate what you’ve done. The problem is when you can’t separate your accolades from who you really are. When I stepped back from working in film and television to homeschool my boys, my self-esteem took a big hit. It didn’t make sense, I thought. After all, I was doing what I believed God was directing me to do, I would have more time with my children, and our family would grow closer as a result. It seemed like a win-win. And yet I felt like I was losing. Once I owned up to the fact that I didn’t feel as “important” or “esteemed” anymore because I wasn’t working with big name celebrities or my name wasn’t appearing on TV screens, I was able to get to the bottom of the issue. I didn’t think of myself first as a woman of God, wife or mother. My identity was television and film writer. Pride, all the way around. How do you avoid this trap? Focus on God’s Word and HIS directives for your life. When you have His peace and joy and know that you are in His will, your source of satisfaction will stem from pleasing God, not bragging rights.
Don’t try to impress people with what you have.
According to United States Census figures from 2011, 69 percent of American households had some form of debt. 69 percent! Although that was a decrease from the 74 reported when the Census was previously done in 2000, it still is an alarming number. Too many of us are unwilling to delay gratification, to exercise restraint, and to be good stewards of what God has given us. You don’t want anyone to think you can’t afford the latest and the greatest, so you go out and buy it. The problem is, you can’t afford it! Avoid this costly and stressful situation. Don’t be so full of pride that you can’t admit that you’re unable to afford something. Recognize the difference between wants and needs. Then be disciplined enough to do what’s right. Don’t let keeping up with the Jones’ keep you heading to the poor house!
Don’t be too prideful to let others know you’ve been broken, that God has redeemed you and now you’re free and full of His joy!
You weren’t always on top; you hadn’t always “arrived.” How has God delivered you? What testimony can you share to help and bless others? I am personally encouraged and strengthened when I can talk to someone who has dealt with what I’m going through, yet they have succeeded and come through victorious! To avoid being prideful in this arena, exercise compassion. You definitely don’t want to wallow in your sin – after all you are praising God for overcoming! But don’t look down your nose at others or judge them. Instead extend Godly mercy and compassion to help bring them out of their present situation.
Pride can be just as deadly and harmful as other sins. But by walking in humility, staying focused on God and maintaining a proper sense of perspective, you can avoid succumbing to the ugly side of pride.