Lets play a quick game of "Have You Ever". Basically, in my version... if you have done one of these things then I want you to draw a red X on a piece of paper. Ready? Lets try it!
Have you ever... known you were wrong but not apologized?
Have you ever... done something nice just to get noticed for it?
Have you ever... compared yourself to other people to make yourself feel better?
Have you ever... decided that you can't learn anything from one of your leaders/teachers?
Have you ever... spent an entire conversation talking only about you without asking about the other person?
Have you ever... decided you were too good or to much "above" someone to learn from them?
Have you ever... been defensive when you receive criticism?
Have you ever... wanted someone to serve you constantly or expected to be served?
Have you ever... thought you were better than someone?
Have you ever... thought someone who messed up deserved whatever happened to them?
Have you ever... thought everyone else can mess up but you cant?
Have you ever... tried to justify why you are sinning?
Have you ever... took full credit for something that was a team effort?
Have you ever... stopped depending on God and started depending on yourself?
Have you ever... said "God can forgive me, but I can't forgive myself"?
Have you ever... used someone else's sin to justify your own?
Have you ever... put someone down for their sin?
Have you ever... been easily offended?
Have you ever... demanded to be the center of attention?
Have you ever... done something that should be to honor God just so others would see you're good at it?
Have you ever... been unwilling to serve or do something for someone else?
Have you ever... thought that you don't need God to accomplish something?
Have you ever... thought of yourself first?
Have you ever... had to top someone just because you couldn't let someone be better than you?
Have you ever... stolen someone's spot light because you didn't want to admit they were good at something you arent?
Ok...Do you have your red X's now? But what do they mean? What do all those questions have to do with saving yourself from a wreck? Well they all have a basic reason behind them that you may or may not have picked up on. Pride. Yep, all the reasons you have an X written down, that's pride. Big, bold, and red. Surprise! You have pride issues! And here's something you may have expected... so do I! And it is not good.
Basically pride is thinking of yourself as greater than everything. Yep, even God. See why I say its not good? Here are some Biblical reasons why.
In Obadiah God is displeased with the pride He sees in the city of Edom and so He responds with "The pride of your heart has deceived you, you who live in the clefts of the rock, in your lofty dwelling, who say in your heart, "Who will bring me down to the ground?" Though you soar aloft like the eagle, though your nest is set amount the stars, from there I will bring you down, declares the Lord." (Obadiah 1:3-4) From these verses I want you to see and start to understand just how much God dislikes pride. Pride is deceiving it creates a false sense of security and confidence while covering up all the sin, hurt, and brokenness of the person. Instead of finding full forgiveness in God, people say they can't be forgiven or can't forgive themselves. This causes a lot of emotional problems and a feeling of separation between you and God. Instead of allowing others to lead or be the center of attention at appropriate times, people take over everything and have to be in the spot light. This leads to strained relationships and takes God's right to the best of your abilities and places the glory back on you. Comparing yourself to others either leads to a false sense of being better than someone, or a false sense of being worth nothing. Both are only looking at your opinion of yourself and saying that God's isn't most important. Being unwilling to learn from others whether older, younger, or the same age as you leads to ignorance and arrogance. God values knowledge about Him. There are many many more, but you can see how pride affects so many aspects of life and how easily some of them go unchecked or un-noticed.
In Psalm David talks many times about pride and how it pulls people away from God.
Psalm 10:4 "In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him; all his thoughts are, 'There is no God'."
Psalm 31:18 "Let the lying lips be mute, which speak insolently against the righteous in pride and contempt."
Psalm 31:23 "Love the Lord, all you his saints! The Lord preserves the faithful but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride."
David was considered a man after God's own heart. And he detested prideful people and showed again and again in his teachings and writings that God will punish the prideful.
Solomon is considered to be the wisest man to live. God poured His wisdom out onto Solomon. In Solomon's Proverbs, he shows why pride is not something God values and also what God seeks to find in His people.
Proverbs 8:13 "The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate." (Ummm kay God doesnt just dislike pride, he calls it evil and hates it.)
11:2 "When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom."
16:18 "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall."
29:23 "One's pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor."
Back to Psalm for a sec to contrast some of the pride with what God desires.
Psalm 149:4 "For the Lord takes pleasure in His people; He adorns the humble with salvation."
God values humbleness and humility.
Matthew 23:12 says, "Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted."
When we live in pride we are setting ourselves away from God and who He is. Since God detests pride, He is not prideful. So what is He? He is humble. God could be a huge show off and make us all believe in Him, but instead He chose to be humble and to come to save us by becoming one of us. How much more humble could He be than becoming one of His own creation? "And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." Philippians 2:8. To be walking with God in a proper relationship and to be honestly and fully seeking to become more like Him, we need to address our pride. We need to be willing to become humble enough to follow Him to the cross.
We must remember that God is love. And pride has no part in love. It cannot fit into a relationship with humans or with God. If we truly desire to live for and to love Him, we cannot have pride. If we want to reflect Him in our relationships and friendships, we cannot be prideful.
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud." (1 Corinthians 13:4) God is love. God cannot be proud. We are called to model Him in our lives. We really need to work on our pride.
I pray that this will make you think, and help you to grow closer to Him.