Saturday, November 1, 2014

Kick Your Pride to the Side

Is pride really all that bad?  I mean really.  There are so many things that we can't help but to be proud of.  You hear sayings like, "Team Pride" and "I'm so proud of you" and those terms make us feel...well.....pretty darn good.  But then the bible warns us about being prideful.  God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble.  So what's the difference?  Is there a good pride and a bad pride?

I am here to help sort all of that out.  This is something that I have both studied and written about.  Humble Pie Anyone?  This post is about humility which is the opposite of pride.

In the concordance to the bible, usually found in the back of the bible, pride is defined as:
  1. inordinate self-esteem or deceit; disdainful behavior or treatment of others.

In the wikipedia aka world dictionary, pride has 2 definitions.  One negative and one positive:
  1. Negative connotation: an inflated sense of one's personal status or accomplishments.
  2. Positive connotation:  a satisfied sense of attachment toward one's own or anothers choices and actions, or toward a whole group of people, and is a product of praise, independent self-reflection, or a fulfilled feeling of belonging.

Do you see how the negative definitions between the bible and the world are very similar but only the world's definition has a positive side which when carefully dissected is not all that great from a biblical perspective for many reasons. 

A satisfied sense of attachment, a product of praise and an independent "self-reflection" are in opposition to God's word.  Please don't confuse this with being happy about something good that you did or happy for someone or sharing their joy.  Those are obviously good things.  This is about wicked pride.  Let me explain. If we are exalting or elevating ourselves by putting ourselves on a pedestal, God might lower us because it is not our place to put ourselves or anyone else on a pedestal.  God will elevate us when we humble ourselves.  

Here are 2 biblical examples of 2 kings that became powerful and prideful and God's wrath as a result:
  1. Uzziah was a king who did many great things until....he became powerful.  His PRIDE led to his downfall.  He was unfaithful to God so the Lord afflicted him with leprosy.  He had leprosy until the day he did.
  2. Hezekiah was a king who had very great wealth and honor.  But his heart became PROUD and he did not respond to the kindness shown to him by God.  Therefore God's wrath was on Hezekiah, on Judah and Jerusalem. Then Hezekiah repented of the PRIDE of his heart as did the people of Jerusalem; therefore the Lord's wrath did not come on them.
Wow, did you see that?  King Uzziah did not repent of his PRIDE and he had leprosy until the day he died but God's wrath was lifted from king Hezekiah who repented of his what.....PRIDE!

In his PRIDE, the wicked man does not seek Him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God. Psalm 10:4.  No room for God?  May it never be.

You see, pride comes before destruction.  Our hearts can deceive us into seeing pride as a great thing but honestly we should seek to avoid pride in our hearts at ALL costs.  The result of human PRIDE is never worth the consequences.  God wants us to give Him glory by praising him and not ourselves or others for the kindness and mercy that He faithfully gives to those who love Him and trust Him.  PRIDE, evil thoughts, greed and foolishness come from within your heart and defile you.  Mark 7:22  I don't know about you but I don't want to be defiled because of PRIDE.

I must confess that I constantly come dangerously close to being prideful but thanks to the Holy Spirit who dwells in my heart, there is no room for PRIDE.  Yes I tell my children that I am proud of them all the time.  But that's not what I am referring to.  I'm talking about when people praise me for the gifts that God himself has blessed me with such as knowledge and wisdom.  If I am not careful pride can slip in and I can become judgemental, complacent and downright rude.  I find myself complaining about my position and other people.  Then God's spirit reminds me of my place and warns me about exalting myself and becoming arrogant.  I have no right or reason to think of myself as all that because in due time, God will and always has exalted me.  He does it in a way that brings glory to Him while allowing me to shine at the same time w/o worldly thoughts in my heart such as.....PRIDE!

One final thing I want to touch on is a verse from 1 John 2:15-17.  It says:
  • 15 Do not love this world nor the things it offers you (I can think of a few things), for when you love the world you do not have the love of the father in you.
  • 16 The world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and PRIDE in our achievements and possessions.  These are not from the Father, but are from this world.
  • 17 And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave.  But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever!  Amen

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