I am prideful.
It hurts my pride just to say it out loud. That’s the thing about pride; I don’t want to admit it. Pride makes me feel like I am above it all and tells me that I’m doing just fine. In addition, it assures me that I’m much better than the other Christian who is bossy or the other Christian who can’t hold her life together. After all, everyone looks at me and thinks I am doing super fine. I’m not.
I have adversities. I lose my temper and yell at my husband. I even fussed at my son just because he was demanding my attention. My purpose today isn’t to rationalize. I don’t want to tell you how it’s much better sounding that I’m making it. I do that plenty in a day. I just explain it away and tell myself that I’m not really that bad. I’m just having a bad day. I just need to relax and then I’ll be better. That’s my prideful flesh not wanting me to see my sin, to see where God is calling me to repentance in my life.
I never realized that pride was so prevalent in my heart until one day I read C.S. Lewis’s “Mere Christianity.” God uses many different things in our lives to hold up a mirror to our souls so we can clearly see our sin. This book was my mirror. The Bible says in James 1:23-24 that “if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.” Well after hearing that book and seeing my pride in that mirror, I conveniently forgot what I saw.
Now, about a year later, God laid it on my heart to study about pride. I knew I wouldn’t like what I found. I’d find filth; I’d see the tar of sin . . . in me.
We come to Christ and expect our lives to immediately align to glorify God. However, God says that we are to “work out [our] own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in [us], both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:12b-13, ESV). We are saved from our sin, but God promises to come along side of us and teach us to know Him and become like Christ. God showed me my pride so that He may become greater in me. He revealed an area in my life that was keeping me from embracing his love.
What is pride? The Bible describes pride as the opposite of humble (Proverbs 11:2). Have you ever decided that you were above a task? Have you ever said in your heart that you will not do something for someone else because they wouldn’t do something for you? Have you ever secretly left work undone for your spouse to do because he should help you more in the house? I found pride deeply seeded in my heart. I had to humble myself before my husband and before God. Shattering those ivory towers that we set ourselves on, it hurts! Realizing that each time we called ourselves deserving and entitled, we were telling God that we are better, higher, and superior.
I found that when I said I deserved to have my husband help me clean the house, I should have been humbly thankful because I have a house that needs to be cleaned and a husband and son to dirty it up.
I found that when I said that I deserved to have a night out to have some time away from my son, I should have been humbly thankful to have the privilege to take care of my son.
I found that as I expected my husband to meet my expectations, I was elevating myself to master and the authority.
I can perceive the reactions some of you may have in regards to these things. “You do deserve to have your husband help you!” “Of course you deserve a night out!” and “Why shouldn’t you expect your husband to meet your expectations?” Normally, I’d agree. I’d jump right on board saying, you know what, “I do deserve it.” However, that’s pride speaking. What do I deserve? What did I earn? Let me ask you, what did Jesus deserve?
He deserved a throne on earth. He deserved to have banquets with only the best food. Jesus deserved to be served by the angels and never have to suffer a day in his entire existence as a man. He was perfect; He was entirely holy. Yet He chose to be a servant. Read the verses that precede the passage about working out our salvation:
“Who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:1-8).
Again, I ask, what do I deserve? What do you deserve?
The second that we elevate ourselves beyond the status of a servant, we are stating that we deserve more in this life than the life chosen by our Lord and Savior. Would I like for my husband to help me clean up the dishes sitting in my kitchen right now? Well sure! Yet no matter how much I want him to help me with the dishes, he should not clean those dishes because I deserve it. It would be like serving a Queen. Can you give to a Queen what she is entitled? Not a very good gift, is it? I’m not the Queen and I don’t deserve it.
Take a second right now and pray. If you feel offense, if you feel angry, if you feel conviction, tell God. He’s doing a work in your heart. Don’t turn away and don’t forget what you see in the mirror.
© 2013 – 2014, Brooke Shambley. All rights reserved. Love it? Please share, pin, tweet or email but do not use my work without permission.