There are days when I am convinced that my pride is the thorn in my flesh. I try to overcome it with sheer will power. I try to pray it away. I try to give myself pep talks in the morning that today is going to be different and I’m going to not draw attention to myself. I resolve to not be haughty and yet I resort to my old prideful ways. It almost seems like a curse, but that too is somewhat prideful. Pride is part of my sin nature and although I am born again, my old nature is still with me. The cure is found in a simple verse from the Book of Proverbs:
“When pride comes, then comes shame; but with the humble is wisdom.” (Proverbs 11:2)
The antidote for pride is humility. If you’ll allow me, let’s look at the malady before the medicine.
Volumes would be filled with my own personal stories of the shame I’ve brought to my life because of my pride. I’d like to say those were from the days before I was saved, and the majority of them would be. However, as I’ve shared, this is an on-going challenge for me and if I do not maintain a humble and lowly spirit, my pride will rear its ugly head.
Solomon wisely wrote that pride brings shame and it can bring shame in many ways. Guilt from our prideful behavior brings us shame. Oftentimes our behavior can greatly embarrass us and others and bring shame. Our shame can give us a sense of unworthiness, such is the destruction of pride. Most destructive is when pride brings us disgrace. Again Solomon teaches:
“The wise shall inherit glory, but shame shall be the legacy of fools.” (Proverbs 3:35)
I know men who would rather live under the shame of being supported by others because they are too prideful to take a job below them, looking down on an honest day’s work as not worthy of their education and experience. This too brings shame:
“He who gathers in summer is a wise son; he who sleeps in harvest is a son who causes shame.” (Proverbs 10:5)
If I didn’t want to take ownership for my own failings, I could blame it on my upbringing. I was taught to be haughty, but that was merely a defense mechanism to protect from the shame of our station in life. The lesson in that is what you learn as a child can often carry on into adulthood. That is why it is important to teach your children to be lowly in spirit:
“The rod and rebuke give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.” (Proverbs 29:15)
Writing in Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis shared this about pride:
“A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.”
It’s time for the medicine. The first dose can be found from one of my favorite prophets in the Old Testament:
“He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8)
Such a simple antidote that is not always easy to swallow. To walk humbly with God I have to stop looking down so I can see God above. If I am obsessed with myself and forsaking humility, then justice and mercy towards others will be far from me. When I am haughty I am more apt to scorn the weak and wicked instead of praying for their souls and given the opportunity, to share the gospel with them.
When you read the first four verses of Philippians 2, the Apostle Paul gives the Christians at Philippi instructions for a unified body in Christ. He exhorts them to be like-minded, to love one another, and to be of one accord. He warns against conceited and selfish actions. He challenges the church to esteem each other as better than themselves, not looking out only for one’s personal benefit. Then Paul points to our Savior, the ultimate picture of humility:
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 2:5)
Do you have the mind of Christ? Having Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior is no guarantee to keep you from being prideful and bringing shame to your life. I’ve already shown that, however it is a great place to start. Without Christ you are not only doomed to a life filled with original sin, which is pride, but you are also condemned to hell because you have “not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:18).
Once you give your life to Christ, you can learn through His life and the help of the Holy Spirit to always be looking up to heaven instead of always looking down on others.
If you’re receiving these devotionals for the first time and would like to receive them on a regular basis, please email me at email@example.com and use “Please add to Devotional List” as the subject. You can purchase Dave’s five devotional books by visiting his Amazon author page.
Copyright © 2014 David Jeffers