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The Problem of Pride - NEW

Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted. Luke 18:14

Have you ever considered the overwhelming importance that you place on certain sins, while disregarding others? Most of us are conditioned by society to focus on and condemn those things that we can see, while overlooking and even ignoring less visible acts. "Out of sight, out of mind" is one way to describe our distorted view of sin.

We quickly point out sins such as adultery, homosexuality, or racism, while ignoring those hidden areas that subtly seep into our spirits, ruining our testimonies and hindering our relationships with God. One such sin that is often tragically overlooked is pride.

The Bible has much to say concerning pride. In Proverbs 6:17, "haughty eyes" are first on the list of the seven things that are an abomination to God. Proverbs 27:2 adds, "Let another praise you, and not your own mouth." Christ spoke of pride in Luke 18:14 when he instructs, "Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted." Over and over again, we are reminded of God's utter disdain for a prideful spirit.

Why does God have so much to say about this issue? Because, ultimately, a prideful person is saying, "I don't need God. I can do it on my own." As our Creator and Sustainer, God has the perfect plan laid out before us. Attempting to "go it alone" will only lead us down a path of self- destruction. No one knows that better than God-He has seen pride destroy the lives of His creations throughout eternity.

Satan, archangel turned outcast, was thrust out of heaven because of his desire to be equal to God. Israel repeatedly rejected all of the prophets that God sent to warn of their evil acts. Filled with self-righteousness, the Pharisees denied the work of Christ, even as He stood before them.

Pride is so devastating because of its deceptiveness. C. S. Lewis said, "A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you're looking down, you can't see something that's above you." We may easily point out pride in the life of someone else, completely oblivious to the stranglehold that pride may have in our own lives. How, then, can we recognize the presence of pride within us?

Most often, pride is revealed in our attitudes and interactions with others. Instead of desiring to be the best we can be, pride causes us to focus solely on being "better" than someone else. A prideful person wants to be the center-of-attention at all times, constantly referring to himself. He may even ask a leading question ("How do I look today") in order to manipulate a desired response from someone else.

A prideful person can't handle criticism and hates handing out apologies; he can't stand to see others succeed, and he refuses to do "menial tasks." If Jesus was willing to wash the feet of His disciples, then is there anything that we can rightfully refuse to do? These are just a few of the many evidences of pride.

Once we've owned up to and confessed specific areas of pride in our lives, it's time to take action. One practical step is to serve someone else, expecting nothing in return-not in order to receive praise and pats on the back-but as a reminder of the humility of Christ.

Give to someone else in secret. Whether it's a financial gift or a recommendation, give them something for which you'll never receive credit or recognition. Keep it between you and God. If your motives are pure, He'll recognize your sacrifice.

Don't compare yourself to others; compare yourself to Christ. Remember where you came from, and recall what God has saved you from. Without Him, you would be staring at eternity in hell. Only through His sacrifice are you able to rest in eternal security.

When all else fails, God may allow adversity into our lives. Nothing gets our attention better than going through a difficult time. He allows these experiences in order to filter out pride, causing us to return our focus on Him. As much as our prideful spirit may disagree, we cannot live a fulfilling life without God. Simply put, when God is out, pride is in.

Is pride an issue in your life? Take some time this month to examine your focus. Ask God to bring to light any areas that are hindering your relationship with Him. Open your heart to what God reveals to you, and commit to placing Him number one in your life.

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