It seems like everywhere you turn there are books, articles, blogs, videos, podcasts, and every other form of mass communication that explains what is wrong with the world today. There are several schools of thought along the same vein that find patterns and issues within both our modern American culture and the universal flaws of human nature. Some of the books I mentioned in an earlier post have a similar slant by pointing out errors within the way the church/Christians today differ from the way Christianity was set up 2,000 years ago. I’ve noticed when I read or listen to things like this, I have a mixed reaction. Part of me feels convicted and wants to do a better job going forward, and another part of me gets angry about how other people are. It’s so common for us to feed that second inclination when we hear about problems. We want to think the problems aren’t of our own making, but if only everyone else could just think or be like us, then life would be grand. But isn’t that a big part of the problem? When we think that way, we are all looking at how other people need to change and do better, while overlooking the only thing we can actually control: our own behavior and attitudes. I can’t make anyone else change, no matter how much I try. So why do I waste time and energy getting upset over how society/anybody else acts? I think the answer to that is mostly pride. It hurts my pride to feel convicted and know that I need to make changes in my life. It’s also scary to face a need for change, and it’s scary to decide to be different than the mainstream.

Pride is great at side-tracking us from what we need to be focused on. It makes us turn our eyes off of God and onto ourselves. It makes us look at what we’ve already done with a sense of satisfaction instead of looking to what needs to be done right now. Pride compares us to others in an attempt to puff us up or make us lazy. Pride is a deceiver.

“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – is not of the Father but is of the world.” 1 John 2:15-16

“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. Better to be of a humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.” Proverbs 16:18-19

“The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; pride and arrogance and the evil way and the perverse mouth I hate.” Proverbs 8:13

These are some strong words against pride: it’s not from God but of the world, it brings destruction, and fearing the Lord should cause us to HATE pride and arrogance. It’s pretty easy to hate evil and a perverse mouth, but pride and arrogance are not only socially acceptable sins, but they are often celebrated and expected. People are rebuked for “having no pride.” In our world, pride is considered a necessary virtue in order to be successful in life. We are told to be proud of our talents, proud of what we own, proud of our accomplishments. But in the list of sinners to watch out for in perilous times to come in 2 Timothy 3:1-9, those called “boasters” and “proud” are right there in the midst of the blasphemers and traitors. Pride is the root causes of many kinds of sin, and we must resist it. It is hard and it is counter-cultural, but if we truly fear the Lord, then we will hate pride and arrogance just as he does.

Resisting pride is a hard task for me, and I find that the only way to be successful is in spending more time thinking about God and all that He is and all that He’s done. There is nothing I can do that would allow me to be comparable to Him, and this is a good thought to bring about humility. And relinquishing that pride in the view of the glory of an all-powerful God also brings a lot of peace as I remember that I’m not in control (which offers the side benefit of helping me to resist worry as well)!

My goal for the future is when I am tempted to blame others or to look at the sins of others instead of my own, I will remember these truths and keep corrupting pride far away from my heart.

“And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:3-5

“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” Philippians 2:3-8