I have a deep DEEP dislike for public speaking, group speaking, or any kind of non one-on-one speaking (with the exception of students). So as I was thinking about what to do a devotion on in front of my pastors in a few weeks, something kept coming up in my heart...
"WOW I AM PRIDEFUL"...I kept thinking
My pride makes me feel terrified to speak in front of people for fear of looking foolish. Which I promise you…I should be really used to by now.
I know everyone is familiar with pride and knows our pride comes in many forms and it’s something we all struggle with. As an enneagram 2, I can definitely say it’s my biggest struggle. But obviously it doesn’t just affect my personality type. None of us are immune to pride.
The Bible talks about how much God despises pride more times that I can count. But here are a few…
When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.
For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.
Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
1 Peter 5:5
My pride says, “I know better than God knows”. Of course, that can look different to different people. It isn’t a matter of if we have pride, but where our pride exists, so I think it’s important to recognize it and to keep thinking about where hidden pride is in our lives, so we can put it to death…especially in those areas that maybe aren’t as obvious.
So, I thought I would list 3 secret areas of pride in my life (if I had to list them all we would be here all day) and maybe you’ll recognize something in you that you need to give to God.
First, for me pride can often hide itself within the mask of humility. People like me are people who would rather get a sharp stick in the eye then to share about God’s word in public when asked. Sometimes I like to just give the excuse of being shy, which I am. But that's not the only reason I don't want to speak in public or in front of people. It's not because I am ‘oh so humble’. It does make me happy to do things behind the scenes a lot , but many times I don’t’ like to do those things in public because I am so scared to look like a fool or to mess up. Sometimes that pride is crippling. As I prepare something to say in front of my Pastors, I will have to choose to lay down my pride and honestly that is terrifying. Would you pray for boldness when I do?
Second, there is the area of my prayer life. I know that my prayer life doesn’t always reflect someone that is looking to God for daily living and decision making. I realized that when I’m not praying all the time it’s a reflection of my hearts posture towards God. Is my prayer life reflecting that I believe everything is in God’s control and under his sovereignty? I can’t say that it always does. When I am viewing God rightly, which is having full authority over me, my prayer life is way different. I can’t say that I have mastered that area in my life. Sometimes my pride is thinking I can handle life, especially the day to day without prayer.
Last, and I think the biggest area of pride in my life…the area that I have to surrender to the Lord over and over exists because of life situations that are really painful. Marshall Segal once wrote, “Pain becomes proud because it believes no one else understands. No one feels what I feel. And so pain distances itself from anyone who might try and speak into its suffering.”
I had a really difficult past. As I was learning about Jesus, I would tell myself that my sins were too great for forgiveness. My mistakes were greater than the other peoples at church, and no one could understand…not even God and therefore I couldn’t be forgiven. I thought my pain and my poor decisions were bigger than God’s salvation. Eventually, I humbled myself before God and believed that his death and resurrection was ALL I needed. Nothing I could do was out of His reach.
Even after salvation I still struggle with pride. As a special needs mom, I can’t tell you how many times pride has crept into my life through pain. Situations, at time feel hopeless, and instead of turning to the very creator of my child, instead of humbly trusting in Him…I turn to books, research, therapists, blogs, friends or even panic. I worry and then I believe I have to work work work to help him, like it is at all in my control. And what happens is every single time God shows me who is in control and it is NEVER me. I waste all that precious time when I could’ve gone to my Father in prayer listening to what He had for me and for my family and trusted Him in faith. So personally, I have to fight my pride a lot. I am not perfect, but the Holy Spirit lives in me and helps me identify my desperate need for God.
In Luke 18:9-14 he writes that Jesus
9 …also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed[a] thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
And again in Matthew 23:12 says “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”
Over and over the Bible shows that humility is the opposite of pride.
Humility is the weapon against pride. To me, that means actively pursue placing God above all else especially above myself.
I believe even people who’ve been saved for decades can find value in constantly remembering their salvation. That we are desperate sinners incapable of saving ourselves. God is the only one who can do that. We need to remember God is sovereign over all things. God is sovereign over the things I am really good at and even the really painful things. And for those things I may be gifted with, well He is the giver of those gifts, too.
The Bible says “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends. 2 Corinthians 10:17-18
Lord, help me to humbly serve you and love you.