Saturday, November 1, 2014

Pride

                If each one of us were truly honest with ourselves, and before our God, we would all admit that buried deep in the depths of our hearts, lays the sin of pride. This truth has become more and more real to me since I have started to seek out a more humbled walk before the Lord. A few days ago I wrote a blog about humility (titled, “Humbled”) and what I believed the Lord was showing me. Since writing those words, “Pride” has been present in my daily thoughts. The opposite of humility is pride. Pride in my thoughts, pride in my talk and pride in my walk are more present than I ever cared to admit. When you ask the Lord to humble you, the first place He goes to is your pride. If we truly want humbled lives, we must ask the Lord to show us our pride.

                But what exactly is pride? What does it look like in our daily lives? I asked the Lord these questions this morning and He took me back to one of the (many) times that I exhibited pride in my walk. The last church I attended, there was a sister in the Lord who I was close to. She and I would go out for lunch and coffee. We served alongside one another in many ministries. During these lunches, we would talk about our women’s study and various other aspects of our walks. I would share with her what the Lord was showing me, and she would share the same with me. One night, at one of our women’s studies, she began to use the things that I had spoken as her own words. One in particular was when I told her the saying, “We gave up our rights to be right when we gave our lives to Jesus Christ.” She spoke these words and used them as her very own- like she had been given some divine revelation. I was shocked, hurt, and to be completely honest, angry in my own pride.
                I remember leaving that women’s study that night and asking the Lord how could she do such a thing? She spoke the very words I had spoken to her and claimed them as her own! What right did she have to do such a thing! All the women there were in “awe” over her great words of wisdom, when they weren't even hers! Over and over again, all the words that I had spoken to her, she was spitting them out as if they were her very own! I was beyond angry, I was snorting mad!
It was then that the Lord showed me how deep in pride I was. What did it matter if she took the words I spoke and used them as her own? Even the words she used should have slapped me in the face in the midst of my pride. If I truly believed that we gave up our rights to be right when we gave our lives to Jesus Christ, then why would being right at this moment be so important to me? Why would her speaking my words bother me so much? It shouldn't have mattered, but my pride was rearing its ugly head, and I had fallen into sin before my God and before my sister in the Lord. My pride had come out and He showed me what pride looked like in my heart. Taking me back this morning to that same moment in time, convicted me and still convicts me as I write this, because I am a woman filled with pride.
                Pride is an arrogant view of oneself. Pride has a high opinion of one’s accomplishments, achievements, and importance. Pride is dangerous. Pride is in direct opposition of God our Father. Pride tells us that we have the right to be right. Pride tells us that no one has the right to tell us we are wrong when we know, that we know, that we know, we are right. The Lord showed me that I have the sin of pride in my marriage too. My husband will tell me something and I will think he is wrong. He will tell me that I am wrong and he is right, but in my heart I know that I am right- how can I be wrong? So, instead of listening to his reasoning for being right, I shrug him off and say, “okay- whatever”- ending the conversation because, let’s face it- I am right. Even in this I am full of pride.
                After all these things the Lord showed me in regards to my pride, I was reminded of the words I wrote in my blog “Humbled”. To truly be humbled before the Lord we must let go of our pride, in all its shapes and sizes. Abraham was a humble man. He understood his place and position before the Lord. He understood that God was in heaven and he was on earth. He knew and understood how insignificant he truly was.“Abraham is before the Lord, interceding on behalf of his nephew who is living in Sodom and Gomorrah. The angels have come and told Abraham they are going to destroy this city, and Abraham goes before the Lord and begins to bargain with him. But even in the midst of all this, Abraham knew how inconsequential his life was, and how mighty and holy God is. “Then Abraham answered and said, ‘Indeed now, I who am but dust and ashes have taken it upon myself to speak to the Lord’: A humbled heart understands how low they really are before our mighty and holy God. Humility begins to grow in us when we recognize how little we truly are before our high and lofty God. (Genesis 18:27)” (Excerpt from Humbled)

                Our pride will exalt itself in any way it can. The center of pride, the root of pride is found in “I”. “I will, I am, I have, I did, I do”. Anytime “I” starts to come out, there is in me a root of pride. Now, I am not saying that we can’t ever use the word “I” ever again. But we must check our “I’s” before we assume we are right. Pride thinks itself right all the time. Pride will not listen to anyone else’s opinion of the matter. Pride will decide that it knows best, that its interpretation, understanding and wisdom are always better than someone else’s. Pride will not listen.  Pride will look humble on the outside, conceding the battle, but in its heart it will not concede. Pride is a dangerous sin, for it deceives us into believing that we have rights, when the truth of the matter is that Jesus Christ paid for all your rights with His blood.
                Pride forgets that God is in heaven and we are on earth. Pride forgets that what we have is because Christ paid for it and gave it to us. In Ezekiel 28 God speaks to the prince of Tyre who was lifted up in pride. God reminds him that he has what he has because God has allowed him to have it. God reminds him through Ezekiel that he is on the throne of Tyre because God put him there. “The word of the Lord came to me again, saying, ‘Son of man, say to the prince of Tyre, ‘Thus says the Lord God: Because your heart is lifted up; and you say, ‘I am a god, I sit in the seat of gods, in the midst of the seas,’ Yet you are a man, and not a god (Behold, you are wiser than Daniel! There is no secret that can be hidden from you! With your wisdom and your understanding you have gained riches for yourself, and gathered gold and silver into your treasuries; by your great wisdom in trade you have increased your riches, and your heart is lifted up because of your riches.) Ezekiel 28:1-5. The center of all our pride is in the word “I”.
                Pride does not allow us to think of ourselves as we should. We are created beings. We are created by the very God who we now are lifting ourselves up against. Pride does not only hurt you, it hurts our God. Whenever we seek to be lifted up in any form we seek to be lifted up against the One who created us. Pride in any form exalts itself against the very one who brought you into existence.
                Paul tells us that we must “not think of ourselves more highly than {we} ought to think” (Romans 12:3). If this is truth, then what right do we have to think anything of ourselves at all? I may be right in my opinion, but my opinion does not matter in comparison to my God and Savior Jesus Christ. I may be right, but what rights do I have that have not been given to me by God? All our wisdom, understanding, riches, positions, titles, ministries, all and everything has been handed to us by God our Father, our Creator. What right do we have to think anything of ourselves at all? Pride is buried deep in each of us, because pride is the root of all sin. We want, we have, we desire, we need, and our pride motivates us to seek these things out before we seek out our God. We have because He gives. Jesus Christ bought and paid for us with a hefty sum- His life, so I ask you, what rights do you truly have?

                Father God, I pray today that you would show me the pride that is in my heart. When I exalt myself above You or above others, Father, bring me low. Show me how little I am before You, and forgive me for the sins of pride that I have committed against You and against others. Forgive me Father, for my pride, for You alone are high and lifted up, and I am but dust before You. May all the glory, honor and praise of these words be Yours and Yours only. Only You alone have the right to be right. In Jesus Name, Amen.