Let’s all of us decide to stop trying to convince the world that Christianity is true because Jesus makes us prettier, happier, thinner, wealthier, bigger, more successful, more popular, healthier, stronger, and more influential than everyone else. ~Mike Yaconelli
The world glamorizes pride. We should expect it to. We should expect the world to glamorize people and make a big deal of positions, titles, and opportunities. We should expect the world to glamorize talent, money, and success. We should expect the world to glamorize my-great-big-life of opportunity… designer clothes, jewellery, jets, important friends, entourages, celebrity, fame, and sometimes infamy.
The world glamorizes pride. We should not. The world system is centered on pride. It would seem that the more pride a person has, the more they are celebrated, often enabling even more success, in turn, reinforcing greater pride. But what happens when this thinking makes its way into the Church?
Pride pushes Jesus off to the side. Not obviously, very subtly. Subtlety is one of the devil’s best games. Pride’s deceit is in its subtlety. Pride has chameleon-like characteristics. Pride is great at making excuses, subconsciously. The self-deceptive nature of pride is remarkable at hiding unseen in our lives.
Pride seeks to put me front and center of my life and will work relentlessly to keep me there.
Pride grows. It is insatiable.
Pride competes for our attention. It seeks to squeeze Jesus out. Pride will keep me unaware I’ve left little room for Jesus in my heart.
Pride lies. It will lie to me about who is really at the center of my life. In this way…
Pride limits the Holy Spirit’s activity in me, and blocks the Holy Spirit flowing through me.
Pride leads to a self-centered life that validates resentment, unforgiveness, bitterness, and a great many other sinful conditions to take root in my heart.
Pride is the devils end-game. Pride is what was found in Satan’s heart that led him to sin. Ezekiel 28 tells the story of God kicking Satan out of heaven. Satan cannot touch God, but he makes war against God’s people. Having been kicked out of heaven, he tries to keep heaven out of the lives of God’s people. Pride is one of his greatest tools in this battle.
Pride steals. It kills. It destroys. Does this sound familiar? Jesus said of Satan, our enemy, the thief comes to steal, kill and destroy, John 10:10. Our enemy seeks our utter destruction. The devil’s aim is to ruin individual lives, families, leaders, churches, denominations, and whole nations.
So is there hope for us?
Pride is something every believer has to face. No one is immune. Not while we live in this flesh body. The only antidote to pride is keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, Hebrews 12:2. This means we have to stop looking at all the things we do and stop looking for any sense of worth from them.
Our hope is Jesus. Focus on Jesus’ completed work on the cross. His blood shed. His resurrection. His glory. His love. His Spirit-given to us, filling us, changing us, empowering us. His Word renewing our minds. Jesus is the Living Word!
When our focus is Jesus, our heart affections shift away from ourselves and the many attention-seeking things of this world that pride stands on. We become free to see Jesus in all His glory and His majesty. Our sense of awe and wonder of Him brings us to a place of continual desire for greater depth of intimacy with Him. Worship becomes a continual flow from our heart back to Him and He purifies and makes true our worship.
It is only in Jesus that the grip of pride is loosened from our lives. Continued focus on Him and what He has done removes any ground pride has to stand on in our lives.
It is Jesus. It has only ever been Jesus. It will always be Jesus. He is Who has loosed us and given us this victory…