RL Day 5: Love Is Not Prideful

 

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“love does not brag and is not arrogant,” 1 Corinthians 13:4 NASB

 

Ew, no one likes that guy. You know that guy, over there, that has all the answers, that’s always bragging and ragging, strutting around like he owns the place? He may think he is the flyest to ever grace this earth but the truth is his arrogance and self absorption is obnoxious and unattractive. That, my friends, is what love is not. Love is not proud or flossy. In fact, a part of what makes love so attractive is the fact that it doesn’t have to prove itself or convince anyone that it is what it is. You know love because love is genuine, it is humble and it doesn’t need flashing lights and arrows pointing to itself to be noticed.

 

1 Healthy and unhealthy pride?


photo-1441123100240-f9f3f77ed41b.jpgNow please do not misunderstand, pride can mean more than one thing. (Frankly, a lot of things can in the english language.) I believe there is a healthy confidence and a pride one takes in oneself or their work that is respectable and encouraging. For example, the pride a mother feels for her children or the self appreciation one has for a particular success. These things are healthy and rewarding states of being that encourage goodness, healthy development, appreciation, and esteem.

The pride that we speak of that is contrary to love is the pride that is defined as “A high or inordinate opinion of one’s own dignity, importance, merit,or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed in bearing, conduct, etc.” It is the pride that says “I am better than you…”

2. The look of Pride

One way pride begins to creep into our lives is when we take our focus off of love. Love being God. When our focus is off of Christ, just like Peter, we begin to sink; sink into the sea of conceit. We start to look in all sorts of places for validation, value, direction, etc. And one of the most convenient and common areas we end up setting our gaze usually isn’t too far away because we usually look right into the mirror at ourselves.

Here is where we begin to become obsessed with self and assessing ourselves with a skewed and tainted view. For some of us we see ourselves in a space of false humility. We see ourselves as being lowly, not measuring up, and unworthy. It is there you find those who suffer from low self esteem or what I call mistaken identity, which is the process of conforming to whoever you think others think you ought to be. In this way, forgetting we are children of the King, heirs with Christ, friends of God and highly valued royalty. Made uniquely for a unique purpose.

Pride is the inability to authentically humble oneself before others and God. There is a reason why they say pride comes before a great fall (Proverbs 16:18-19). I know we don’t often think of ourselves as being prideful but when we do not reach out to others when we need help, or refuse to go to God about that same old sin we’ve been struggling with for years were operating in a form of pride. It’s refusing to be humble, to see ourselves or the situation through the eyes of truth and often believing that we are bigger or more capable than what we actually are. photo-1447619297994-b829cc1ab44a.jpgConvincing ourselves that “I can handle it.” “I’ve been dealing with this thing for 4 years, I can overcome it. Besides, God is probably tired of hearing me say I’m sorry anyways.” This may work for a while, if at all, but eventually we discover life is a lot easier when we become humble and honest. When we let go of our pride we open the door for God and others to bless us, strengthen us, and encourage us through the process. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”  Matthew 5:3 ESV

For others of us we blatantly see ourselves too highly and far greater than what we actually are and so we become inflated, judgmental, prideful and full of ourselves. Problem with this (besides the obvious) is that the prideful person will always run into the next source of “competition.” A prideful person can not appreciate himself wholeheartedly and value others differences, strengths and success at the same time. He will always run into someone he views as either bigger, better or greater and in order to reestablish his self worth and esteem he must deflate, minimize and demean in order to refuel his sense of worthiness. Truthfully, it’s one thing to think we are good or even great at something but when that train of thought begins taking Gods glory and putting down or devaluing others in order to validate ones own selfish hunt for superiority, it’s no longer confidence, its pride.

All points of view are inappropriate and are not grounded in the truths we find in God and in his word. It is in the word we find that not only are we valuable, fearfully, wonderfully and uniquely made. We too are all broken, flawed and in need of the grace, mercy, strength, love, life and breath of an almighty God. A God who is NOT a respecter of persons and loves and cares for each and everyone of us no more and no less than the next. 

 

3. Conquering Pride

The reason why we must conquer and overcome our pride is because it is not only offensive to man, but most importantly it is dangerously offensive to God.

“In the pride of his face the wicked do not seek him; all his thoughts are, “There is no God.”” Psalm 10:4 ESV

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Whether pride be displayed in what is said, they way one acts or even what one may think or grumble about behind closed doors God knows and cares about it all. The bible makes it clear in Proverbs 23:7 AMP “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he [in behavior—one who manipulates].” Our thoughts and heart are just as culpable as our outward manifestations because God looks at the heart and sees all things man cannot. 1 Samuel 16:7 NIV “The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

Therefore in order to conquer pride we must first renew our minds and get to the truth. This is the cry of David in Psalm 139:23-24  Search me, O God, and know my heart!
    Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting!

This is a process one goes through by the help and direction of the Holy spirit and in conversion with Christ. It takes conscious effort and practice to begin to recognize pride, be honest with its manifestation and make the choice to turn away from the behavior.

Another way to conquer pride is to encounter God. To be honest with you all, I have never been more humbled and challenged in the way of my heart than when I was brought low due to some really bad choices. Because of which, I was forced to come face to face with God in a way that I’d never experienced before. Where I not only experienced God’s love, His saving grace and renewed mercies but hid mighty correction.My eyes were opened my pride was crushed. I’d like to say that I hope no one would have to go through painful loss or hurt in order for God to get their attention and crush their pride but the truth is that for some of you, like myself, a good dose of Fathers loving discipline will be exactly what is needed.

Lastly, I’ve found that community helps keep us in line. Its nothing like that friend, classmate, brother, sister or spouse that is not afraid to tell us when our stuff stinks (attitudes included.)
photo-1416453072034-c8dbfa2856b5Along with the word of God that is to be looked at as supreme in our lives, a strong community of sound, honest, and loving people we know and trust is always a great way of seeing ourselves for who we really are. Yes men need not apply to this position in your life. It is here you need some: “No, you were wrong,” or “Maybe you should rethink that,” or “Yes, those pants do make you look fat,” kind of people in your life who are gonna tell it to you like it really is. And not only tell you, but tell you in love and walk that thing out with you.

We find that when we surround ourselves with truth, cover ourselves in truth, accept and apply the truth to our lives and invite God and others to be apart of that process love flourishes and pride no longer has room to thrive.

Reflection

1 Are there an areas of your life where you can see the fruits of pride?

2 Who does your community of honest and trustworthy people consist of? Have you given them permission to boldly speak into your life?

3  What are some other ways you’ve found to conquer or overcome pride (or any other undesirable behavior) in your life?

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