“Pride is insidious and you must root it out of your life—this often takes surgery of the heart and it always takes submission of the will!” Upon reading this, I was reminded of Hebrews 4:12-13, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of all joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. No creature is hidden from His sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” The word sword is translated as sharper than the sharpest sword, but as precise as a surgeon’s scalpel. The word of God in many ways also acts like a mirror in our life exposing the areas, which are not of God, and when we allow the word to penetrate our hearts, it will cut away the malignant masses holding us back from imitating Christ and bringing glory to God. Daily we must be reading the word of God learning His ways so we can put into practice what we have learned.
Pride is the result of elevating ourselves above others or even God. It is manifested in my life by my desire to be successful. I care what others think of me and often care more about how the world views me than how God does. God has given each of us desires and among them, the desire to be significant is at the top of the list, but that same desire to be significant by the world’s standards is what keeps us from intimacy with God. Desires must be satisfied within the covenant relationships and designs, which God has established. A perfect example is found in the story of David and Saul. Upon defeating Goliath in battle, the men were returning home and the people were singing, “Saul has slain his thousands and David his tens of thousands.” Saul should have lifted David up and praised God for the victory, but he could not stand to lose his significance and we see Saul become angry and keep a jealous eye on David and the next day an evil spirit from God came forcefully upon Saul.
Humility before God and everyone we come in contact with is the only way to prevent pride from rising up and causing us to fall. We must trust in the mighty hand of God, that He will exalt us at the proper time. Even the person with the most money and the most accolades still dies and can take none of it to heaven. The only thing we can invest in that we take to heaven is what we invest in the lives of the people we come in contact with. Our hunger for significance can destroy us and chasing after things of this world to find happiness will only leave us unsatisfied and wanting more. The more we try to find purpose and happiness in worldly things, the more we are telling God He is not good enough for us. The world through its hallow and deceptive lies tells us our significance is bound up in the things of this world and nothing could be further from the truth.
The story of Jesus at the well is a perfect example as he explains, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water I will give him or her will never be thirsty again.” If we are prideful of anything, as Paul said, it should be that we know Christ because the only thing any of us truly deserves is hell and everything we have in our life is a blessing from God. If we keep this mindset our response to the manifestation of pride will be halted in its tracks. As Nathan Smith said regarding an attitude of humility, “It is the displacement of self by the enthronement of God.” Life is not about us; it is about God. Each of our lives finds its greatest purpose and happiness when we make everything about God. The holier and more righteous each of us becomes, the more self-evident we should become to the sin in our life. If we really understood how broken we all are, it would fuel our compassion for those around us since true greatness is making much about God and less about us.
We should avoid pride and sin because of our desire to be like Christ, to pursue Him, and to bring glory to His name. We must keep our eyes fixed upon Jesus because the moment we lose sight of Him, we begin to sink and open the door for prideful thinking. As Ben Forrest says, “Pursuing God is a posture of submission and repentance because when we recognize the holiness of God, it bends our knees and bows our head.” We will never truly know ourselves except when we endeavor to know God. Teresa of Avila said it best, “It is only by considering His greatness we discover our bareness; it is only by contemplating His purity we discover our own filthiness, and it is only by beholding His humility we shall discover how far we are from truly being humble.”